You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 160. This is a rebroadcast episode from one where I got to hang out with my pal Bryce. She runs the Instagram handle "Mom Brain Therapist" and she's a therapist who specializes in supporting moms on this journey. We were chatting about the social norms in the cultural context around moms and self-care in the martyrdom that often comes with motherhood and we work really hard at Seed to be inclusive and also to acknowledge spaces where there is certain social programming or cultural norms. And this is one of those where I think self-care in parenthood is crucial and I think that there needs to be specific discussion around what this looks like in motherhood when we look at the history of moms and self-care in abandoning self to provide for somebody else or multiple other humans first. I'm excited to share this really important conversation again, as it is at the basis of being able to show up for others is taking care of ourselves first. All right folks. Let's dive in.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
Hey everyone, welcome back to Voices of Your Village today. I am here with Bryce. I started falling brace on Instagram not too long ago. Actually. I feel like you have blown up which cheers, that's amazing because you're doing such fantastic work and messages that need to be heard. So Bryce's handle is "Mom Brain Therapist" we'll link all that in the blog post per usual, but I went to like look stuff up on Bryce to you know, usually I chat a little bit at the beginning about this human and was like, oh my gosh. She's like a mysterious woman and just told her I'm like, I'm gonna need you to tell your own stories, Hey Bryce, how are ya?
00:02:37 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Hey there. Thank you guys so much for having me. I am Bryce Reddy. I am a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Massachusetts and I like Alyssa said I am on Instagram as Mom Brain Therapist". So I basically am there sharing info on perinatal monthly mental health so mental health for moms, and I try and make it as relatable and every day as possible, you know, because I think so much of mental health can be you know, it could feel like something that maybe other people are dealing with our other people have to worry about and I kind of wanted to be a part of everyday life for everyone, you know and make it as normal and relatable as possible to be talking about these things.
Yeah. I think it's so rad and I think it's key. In that like kind of like moving our bodies right that like you don't have to be an athlete to work out or move your body. You can just move your body, you can dance, you can whatever, and I think similarly with mental health we often think of, I see a therapist regularly whom I loved and I had somebody reach out recently and was like, "oh you go to therapy?" and I was like, "yeah babe." It's my favorite thing in the world actually and have been with different therapists over the course of a decade now and if folks, the person in my dms was like shocked because it was this framed that like you only should go, or you only have to go when things are really bad. And I think that you're doing an awesome job of talking about mental health in a way that is relatable for all and accessible for all.
00:04:14 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yes, and that's definitely my goal and I can definitely relate to what you said about people being like, "You go to therapy?" You know, even as a therapist people are like, "You wouldn't understand, you've never been on this side." I'm like, oh girlfriend like I have been on that side for years and and I'm proud of that. You know that we, I think as therapists, we've done a lot of work but I think as know humans we you know undervalue that the need for that to be able to be met with understanding and just having that therapeutic process of getting to know ourselves on a deeper level.
Yeah, I think it's huge actually Lori Gottlieb wrote, "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" she was on the podcast last summer. And I said similarly to her, like I think it's really important for folks who work in mental health to talk about our own processes. And I think that that's been a taboo thing to do for a long time and I like seeing that shift.
00:05:11 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, I think that's been one of the most powerful parts about, I mean I kind of joined social media as a therapist on a whim, one day I was like, "I'm gonna get an Instagram, see what happens"
And you crush it.
00:05:23 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, what could go wrong, right? And you know finding this like tribe of other, you know helpers who are kind of breaking this kind of training that we've all had to be like this blank slate that nobody really, we don't tell people about ourselves. We don't share our own stories, which I think in a in for good reason is changing, you know that we have to be these relatable people to let people know that you know, this The Human Condition is for all of us. It doesn't just apply to some of us.
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's huge. Well today we brought you on this is our Mother's Day episode and I want to chat about one of the things I think, so in creating the CEP method, it has five components and we people often come to us for the adult-child interactions component, which is one but there are four others in there all about us and one of them is self-care. Is this kind of elusive thing a lot of it. and we're like what I don't have time for or the finances for or the support for x, y&z and self-care, a massage, a mani-pedi, whatever and I think, I would like to dive into what self-care really means on like a day-to-day basis rather than this like I'm going to bank some self-care time that is hopefully going to roll over into all these other days to come right like I'm going to get a massage and then hopefully, I feel that self care time in a month or whatever. Yeah. I want to chat about what this looks like on a day-to-day basis.
00:07:03 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, and I think honestly that is the only way in my opinion to do self care is that it has to be an everyday thing and I can definitely you know, I've definitely gotten some pushback on my feelings about that. You know, people are like that's not going to work for me or you know, that's not possible and you know, I think we have to find a way to be integrating this into our lives because like, you know, I think the marketing commercial world wants us to believe that going and getting a massage for $200 or a manicure is going to cure our you know overwhelm as mothers and that's just not happening. You know, it's just a possible as I'm a mom of two kids myself and I don't recall the last time I got a massage or manicure, but every day I find ways to nurture myself the same way I nurture my children. It might not be the quantity that I give to them but I've had to find ways to prioritize myself and my own needs during this time. Otherwise, I would be useless in a lot of ways, you know?
Yeah and let's chat about some specifics here. Like what can self-care look like on a day to day for folks? Like okay cool. Sounds good. Let me know more deets.
00:08:18 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, so I think you know one of them is, in even just tiny ways, you know being able to say, you know, I need to call and make a dentist appointment or I need to go get my pap smear, you know this year and even if it's not, you know, I'm not going to make it for next week, in six weeks or six months. I need to get that appointment on the books like that is important, you know, so being able to prioritize our needs on a very basic level. Just saying, you know, did I eat breakfast today? Did I have lunch? You know, or did I just eat the, you know, scraps of my kids sandwich? You know, which I do sometimes. I'm like, "I don't feel like making it, but here's her peanut butter and jelly scrap. So I'll eat those and those grapes she didn't eat, you know instead of like making myself an actual plate and sitting there and you know eating it while I hang out with them or talk with them. So, you know, I think just finding those little ways to meet our needs is the biggest place I suggest mom's start. You know is making sure I have you know clothes that, you know, even they don't have to come from J.Crew, like I shop at Goodwill, you know a lot of the time and I always tell a story from a few years ago. We were, I had like one bra or something, you know it was like, I kept having to wash this one thing and you know going back and I was like, why can't I buy myself, like my kids have like these nice coats and shoes that fit them and like I have stuff that doesn't fit me and I have to find a way to make that happen, even if it's on a budget. So I mean so wrapping that all up I really think that prioritizing our needs in an everyday way for the basics, you know, starting there with the basics clothes, food, doctor's appointments, you know, those those simple things are just a good place to start in my opinion
Totally and I think if we would imagine like if it was a kid and we didn't give them like a full meal and then they are having a tantrum would be like, oh right because they haven't eaten and they're probably hungry. But then when we don't give ourselves a meal and then we are snapping and yelling. We're like, oh, I can't believe I'm yelling.
00:10:40 Dr. Bryce Reddy
I'm so terrible.
Yeah it all of a sudden becomes about like us and how we're not doing a good enough job in actuality like wouldn't anyone be yelling right now if you're hungry? You know what I mean, like being able to take that step back. We had last year in May right around Mother's Day last year, Kristen Mittler. She's awesome. She has the handle "Old Joy" on Instagram. She was on, she's a sweet friend and she was talking recently about like buying new underwear for herself. She just realized like she didn't have she didn't know the last time she bought new underwear to think I'm wearing like holey old underwear, like what am I even doing? But yeah last year she came on to talk about Mom guilt, which I think is necessary and rad, not the guilt itself, the conversation around the guilt. But yeah, I think like little things like that like buying yourself new underwear.
00:11:38 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, it's so simple and you know, I've talked about that too, you know, like, you know a few weeks ago. I was on my Instagram stories talking about it that you know, I had underwear in my underwear drawer then my mom had bought me when my son was born she brought it to the hospital, so I'd have it and my My son will be 6 in May, 6 years old and I still have this like random underwear that my mom brought me and it's like tattered and I'm like, oh my God, and I just like literally gathered it all up and I put in my clothing recycling bin that was like this has to go somewhere and I need to invest nine dollars or whatever it is to get myself some underwear at whatever store right?
Yeah. It's just those priorities, right? It feels like there's so much going on all the time that I think we often just push ourselves towards the end. I even just do it with like movement where I'll be like oh when life gets crazy. I'm like "well maybe making time for movement for myself can be moved to the end of the list" like I don't have to prioritize its so I think for a lot of us has become ingrained to do that.
00:12:46 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, and I think there's so much pressure to be this perfect mom and to give everything we have to our children that I need to be making them gourmet meals and we need to be entertaining them 24 hours a day and everything has to be about them and their enrichment and you know, I think there's truth to that but it's you know, we don't it's impossible to meet that need or do those things on a constant basis. That we have to have ourselves somewhere on the value ladder and recognize that we have it's important to meet our needs as well. You know, we can only do so much for them unless we're taking care of ourselves and you know treating ourselves as a valued member of the family too.
Well, I think that's exactly it like a nail on the head we can only do so much for them. If we're not taking care of ourselves and people use the like oxygen mask analogy a lot but it's real, right? When people are reaching out and they're like, oh they are feeling like they're failing in different ways or whatever that they're young. They're losing their cool. They're whatever. I don't have the patience for this, and like yeah, babe. What are you doing for yourself here? There really is only so much we can give before we're dysregulated.
00:14:03 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Exactly and there's just, you know, the list of unmet needs that I hear from others, you know, and just basic ways, you know that being able to not being able to watch their own TV show or listen to a podcast that they like or only listening to their kids music and you know little things like that can wear us down. Because we're choosing to kind of prioritize that and we keep saying the word prioritize but it's all I think part of this conversation, you know that we're prioritizing so much for other people and not having enough left for ourselves. And even like we said some of the most basic ways listening to a podcast like this one, you know, and while we, you know take a walk after our kids have gone to bed instead of you know, doing something around the house, you know something that feeds us and nurtures us has value.
Totally, we have a lot of kiddos who know my voice and I think it's so funny so rad because they're tuning in with the parent.
00:15:05 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah exactly that we have this kind of, it has to be a part of our lives and I think our kids respect that in a lot of ways, you know, I mean I listen to audio books a lot and I'll leave them on in the background and my kids they don't always understand it, but they like the voices and the inflections and especially now that we're all home together a lot more, you know that there is, I think it teaches them something in a lot of ways to see that I'm doing something for me and that I value that.
Yeah, and ultimately when they grow up I want them to prioritize themselves too right? And it's going to come from what they see in a lot of ways about what they're allowed to prioritize or what is kind of the standard there.
00:15:50 Dr. Bryce Reddy
What's seen as valuable right? That our interests and our own personal, you know curiosities and interests are valid and and worthy to pursue and to invest in. Yeah, and I think it's it's tough. I think it's really tough. When kids are young and you're in this space of, you really have to provide so much that they need to eat from you providing them something to eat or they can't move their body unless you pick them up things like that. And then I think we can get into kind of patterns and habits early on that then carries through once kids can move their body without you moving them or food without you feeding them with a part of your body or a bottle, you know?
00:16:37 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Definitely, and I think we see that a lot as kids age and grow up, you know that there comes parents all of a sudden have this sense of like hmm, like what now? You know that there is, I've invested so much time and there's less of a need for a lot of those things so, you know, there's this kind of we call it sometimes like a mom fog or something but like there's an identity crisis that comes from that.
Yeah. So true. I had, we had a friend who got sick this winter and she like had the flu and was down and out and she came out of it and she was like, whoa, I realized how many things her son could do. She's like, that I've just been doing as a part of habit that he was capable of.
Yeah, giving them that freedom and Independence I'm sure to pursue that and master something and have some pride in that probably feels pretty good.
00:17:30 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah. So one of the questions we had that I'm going to throw your way. We had a mom reach out who was like, I can't find time to shower because every time I go to get in the shower every time I put my baby down baby cries, and so I can't hop in the shower because she's going to be crying. Let's chat about it.
00:17:52 Dr. Bryce Reddy
That's, I mean, my son cried, I want to say for a year when he was first born. I mean, he's just always cried he was premature and was just not ready to be on the outside. And then when he kind of realized he was here he was just not super happy about that and he just and then he wanted to talk he wanted to walk and he was just it took a long time for him to be like settled and to be like, "All right, I'm here now. I'm okay." So he just cried all the time. So, I mean I definitely can relate to this mom, you know, I think when it came down to it, I often just put him in his little baby chair and sat him outside the shower and I got in the shower and that was it and I recognize like he was going to have to cry for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, however long I was in there, you know, just to get my own personal needs met. It wasn't always super relaxing. I will say but it was really big deal to be able to get out of the shower with clean hair and brush my hair and get clean clothes on and you know, I was nursing at the time so getting that kind of like milk off of me and kind of just the this sludge of you know new motherhood that I kind of was feeling and it just would change my whole day, you know being able to do that was really powerful for me. So I guess realizing that it's not always going to be may be perfect. You know, if you do have a partner at home, they would be great if they could hold them and you know be a part of it but that's not always going to be the case. And sometimes we have to say baby is safe, baby is fed, baby is clean, and baby's going to sit in this chair for five minutes so I can wash my hair. And we just have to kind of be accepting and realistic that sometimes these things just are gonna I guess happen and it's going to be okay, my baby still knew I loved him and I had hair that was clean and brushed so and I was out and I probably held him again for the next 23 hours and you know, 45 minutes. And we were there doing that, but I do think that's part of it. You know that we have to just do our our best, you know, it's never it's not going to look perfect at certain times of our life, but we have to be willing to give ourselves up, you know that time to recharge even if it's just a little.
Yeah, I think and what I like really heard in there was this idea that it is okay for the babe to feel and to express. Our inclination, I mean everything that happens physiologically with mirror neurons were like I need to make that stop and when we can first of all when we can take care of ourselves, we're better able to regulate ourselves to then co regulate with that child but also that we can then acknowledge that it is. Okay, if a baby cries, that's how they communicate with us and they're allowed to be upset that you're not holding them.
00:20:48 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, and it's totally reasonable, you know that there is and they're going to have have emotions that might not be always be so loud and you know, you know powerful to us, you know, but when they're two, when they're five, when they're eight, you know, there we're always going to be experiencing those emotions and even saying I don't want you to go on that trip or I don't want you to do this and they're always going to be a little protest in there and we can still honor that and do what we need to do at the same time.
I love that so much that it's okay if they don't want you to and you still can. Yeah. And I think I think in that we also get to give them the gift of knowing that we are a safe space for them to express hard things and we won't always try and solve that problem. We can just hold the space for them to feel and empathize with it. Like I know I really love hanging out with you to go on this trip to help for work or because I just want to.
00:21:49 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Right, because I need a break or I need to get away. Yeah, or whatever you know that it's okay. You know, it's okay that we have our own needs and our own desires and their protests are going to come whether, like we said whether they're six months or 16 and telling us that they don't want us to do something and that's okay. We can like still, you know hear that.
I even a couple months ago it was morning before Zach left for work, and our mornings here together. I like love. I am like sucker for a slow morning. I'd rather work later, some people are up and they're like ready to go in the morning. That is not me. I'm a sucker for a slow morning and we were up in just like drinking coffee on the couch and it was like calm and chill and were chatting and he was going to have to leave for work and I was like, "I don't want you to go to work" and he was like, "Yeah, I don't really want to go either." And then just like held that space with nothing else and then a couple minutes later he got up and got ready and went to work and I found so much comfort in just being able to say that and know that he wouldn't be like, "I know but like I'll be home later." Right? Like we do all the time to kiddos just holding space for that and emphasizing again. I don't really want to go either and then going, that it's okay to not want it to happen and then for it to still have to happen and I think when we change our schedules so that kids don't feel those hard things and then don't take care of ourselves in the process. We actually aren't setting them up for life success, that they're gonna have to go to work. They're going to have to leave vacation. Nobody wants to leave right? Like these things are going to continue to happen.
00:23:33 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, they might not want to get on the school bus in the morning, you know, which is something, my son started kindergarten this year and something we deal with all the time. You know, it's like I don't want to go to school and like I know. You know, it's hard to get up and go to like rush out of the house every morning or whatever, you know, it's tough. So yeah.
Cozy home days are nice. Yeah until you forced into them.
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00:25:52 Dr. Bryce Reddy
But I love what you said a few minutes ago about sitting on the couch and saying I don't want you to go to work because I think that that is something we often as you know, women as mothers don't allow ourselves. We think like we have to you know, we hold a lot of those feelings in you know, for whatever reasons whether we've been led to believe they're not important or we have continued to just deny those little little inklings of like an emotion, you know. And I love that you were able to say that and it's like you said, it doesn't mean that Zack was like, "Oh, yeah, like I have to go to work, you know I have to go to work." Or like, you know, blah blah blah, you know, but we could just honor that and be vulnerable in that moment like well, I feeling this and I don't really I don't want you to go but it doesn't mean everything has to change around that but we can just kind of sit with it and feel it.
Yeah, I think it's so huge. You're right. I think as women we don't allow ourselves. I think as adults really I think a lot of for for men and non-binary folks that like this is true too like that's just not saying the things because we have I think I think it really starts quite early where when you say Mom I don't want you to go to work and the response is "oh I know but like I have to and then I'm going to see you later" or whatever we learned pretty early that when we say those things people might try and solve our problem. Sympathizers how to empathize and I think slowly over time we learned that there are a lot of places that aren't quote about safe to express those emotions in a way that's going to elicit empathy and compassion and then pause.
00:27:36 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah and just let it sit you know that they're welcome and safe and that's it. Just doesn't we can just hear it?
Yeah. I think it's so powerful and so hard to do because when you love someone you want to make that hard feeling go away.
00:27:50 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah interesting to think about, rad! So let's list out some like concrete tools for folks and we'll pop these in the blog post. I'll also link to some of your graphics on this from Instagram because you I think do a red job of highlighting these individual manner but some things that folks can do for self care if they're like, all right, I need ideas of like how to take care of myself which can sound crazy but like I think so many of us are so ingrained in not doing these things that just have no hearing them. I think can be helpful.
00:28:27 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Definitely. So one area, I know we've talked about a little earlier was priorities. So being able to you know, find ways to prioritize yourself and like I said, this doesn't have to be you know going and getting a massage. This could be saying I have these shirts that are all like tattered or I need new underwear, you know, or I need to get outside for a walk, you know after dinner when the kids are with with you know, another adult in the house and I myself maybe walk my dog, you know being able to prioritize that you have your worthy of kind of some time and space and in the stuff you need for yourself, you know that there is that your valid that's about you know need and the other thing I work a lot with moms on his unmet needs, you know needs for Creative Outlets, you know needs for intimacy needs for food, water, connection, rest like just being able to say I'm going to turn my phone off at 8 o'clock every night and do have my own night time routine. I know we always talk about, you know for babies and kids but you know, I have a nighttime routine for me that I do every night that the little things like that that can kind of nurture myself and allow myself to be kind of a human that has the needs to wind down before bed. You know, so I think really focusing on those unmet needs and I do have a I think a post on that I could share with you guys to do so and another you know movement which is another one. I always talk about you know, what that is something you brought up earlier that we can kind of do prioritize that you know that we know it makes us feel good, but we don't always make room for because we think it has to mean oh I have to go to the gym for an hour. I have to take a five mile run when really that could In standing up from your bed and stretching to the sky and holding that stretch for a few minutes, you know a few seconds, even you know, just to give your body some attention and those little things I think are what I focus on the most. Going, you know,
00:30:40 Dr. Bryce Reddy
beyond that, you know, a little everyday things that we can do I think is being vulnerable is a big one for me. You know, it kind of allowing ourselves to tell our truth within our stories even just in a journal or texting with a friend like I'm having the worst day. I just need someone to tell me I'm doing a good job, you know, those are self-care, you know, I think so often we can like we've said we can kind of make self-care to be something that seems unattainable. But in reality we're doing a lot of these little things every day and just kind of but not giving them the value that I think that they deserve.
Yeah. I like those tangible tips. I have shared this before but my mom I'm one of five kids and my parents started having children when they were 19 and grew up in a low-income community didn't have access to like bonus supports or finances or whatever and she stayed home with us ran like non-regulated home day care and she is the queen of self-care so great at it and I will continue to talk about it because I want folks to hear that, you don't have to have all the things in place to take care of yourself. Like she would, we would be outside playing and she would go to her garden and like do stuff in her garden and I have like memories of going over and being asking her to like come play and she would say. "Oh, yeah, I'm gonna finish up in my garden then I'll play." Like she didn't drop her stuff to come play with me right then it was okay for her to say like, "Yeah, I'm gonna finish taking care of me and then I'm going to come help you."
00:32:20 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yes. And I think that's something, I'm sorry-
Yeah, just little things like that. You know that really add up.
00:32:27 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah even, Alyssa like we said having the audio book on in the background, you know, while you even if you are playing legos at that time or doing something, you know that we can incorporate our needs into our everyday life. Even when our kids are there, you know, it might not be the, you know one fell swoop recharge that we need but it's really just the honoring ourselves as individual humans with Your interest and needs and goals and finding ways to just incorporate that with our kids because I mean we have to make it all work. We have to blend it. All like you said, you know, and I think that example of your mom being able to, you know teach you guys that gardening was important to her, you know, whether, she wasn't coming out and saying that but she was modeling that for you that know this is what I'm doing right now and that's completely okay and I think really there has been a change there, you know people like to think that you know people being on their phones or wanting to do other stuff is something new but you know, my mom was watching General Hospital while I playing.
00:33:35 Dr. Bryce Reddy
And you know, she was talking on the phone and telling me like "I'm talking to your Aunt right now", like, you know, this wasn't my parents weren't devoting 24 hours a day to me intensely because it was a realistic I mean parents have been finding ways to incorporate themselves into their children's lives forever and there's just been less guilt about it. I think at certain times.
I absolutely agree. I also grew up watching General Hospital with my mom. I also, like another flashback came to be of her like standing over the sink doing dishes and she would, it sounds silly but like would prioritize dishes because to her it was stressful if at the end of the night she's doing all of them and so there were things like she wouldn't come and play with us right away or there were things that we did independently in our process like after dinner and like getting ready for bed. There were parts of our process that we were expected to do independently because she was doing the dishes and then was coming to join us rather than like being a part of all of those steps and then having to do the dishes after we go to bed. Yes little bits along the way we're like then once we were in bed the dishes were done and she could chill. Or get lunch's ready, whatever but like building those things. I think so often we think of the housework and the like care of the house has to happen when kids aren't like present and I think we can build it in throughout the day and say, we just had a three year old, our friends three-year-old was with us and she and I were playing and we had lunch and I was cleaning up and she wanted to go into the backyard. I was like go right ahead babe, and she's like, "oh I want you to come too" and I was like, "Well, I'm going to finish cleaning up from lunch and then I'll come play" and she was like "No!" and started to throw a tantrum. She was like, "I don't want to go by myself" And I said, "You don't have to go, you can wait inside here. You can play inside but I'm going to finish this before I go outside." So she had the choice to make of like do I want to go outside right now or do you wanna wait for Alyssa and I wasn't going to stop what I was doing to like, "Okay but I'll go outside right now with you" Right? You know?
00:35:48 Dr. Bryce Reddy
That's such a great example, you know that we have to make this all work, you know and there is, and knowing, I think, our triggers in a lot of ways to can help you know, like is a messiness is a trigger for I know for me I like a clean kitchen and so I do incorporate that into like my daily routine with my kids, you know being able to clean as I go and know that if I walk in there and it's super duper messy, I'm like this is stressing me out and so being able to say, prioritize like that, like you said and that my kids know that I can do those things and go in and empty the dishwasher while they play and then join them again, and there's a flow and a rhythm to it all that we can make it work.
Yeah, and for me, it's not even a trigger. I think it is important to be mindful of triggers. For me the messiness isn't a trigger its that when she went down for nap, I wanted to be able to not be doing dishes.
00:36:42 Dr. Bryce Reddy
That's a great point, exactly. Because it was going to be your time.
That's right. I think that like prioritizing these things as little things is the key here that we don't make them these giant things, and one of the, one of the things we've talked about in past episodes but communicating with your partner I think is absolutely huge. Around like what is, we had an episode on the like "mom mental load" and all of the things that you carry of like okay, schedule the doctor's appointments, like all the things that moms can tend to carry and shared in that episode that like early on in our relationship I had said to Zach that I don't know if you understand all the things that go on, like you've never cleaned the tub and it has always just magically appeared clean. And I was like, oh, yeah, right I refer to this as magic house, when things just happen, but I think that part of the like self-care needs is the communication here around like what is your partner doing? What are you doing? What do you feel like is too much that you can offload in any manner? And maybe your partner isn't in a place to take it on. Maybe it's having a conversation about what this looks like as a whole, as a system. But I think that partner communication is huge.
00:38:06 Dr. Bryce Reddy
I think in the self-care piece, you know, and you know, I think I there's a great book called Fairplay. I'm not sure if you've heard of it but it's yeah, it was a great book if anyone wants to look it up. It's all about kind of there's a sharing the mental load right or the motherlode the emotional load of mother had you know or parenthood and you know being able to kind of communicate our needs in a way that, that allows things to happen, but still, you know allows other people to see in the family what our needs are, you know, which I think Mom's you know are often, you know, the, you know, the primary caregiver in a lot of families and they can kind of almost be forgotten even though they're kind of this like integral piece of the puzzle here, you know, and I think being able to share that that we need help, you know, and you know, and it's about it's a team effort, which is something I think I've talked about a lot with my family in the last few days with kind of what's going on and us being home more you know, is it with we all have to be really mindful of doing our part to kind of make this happen, you know, and it Is a team effort whether our kids are two, five, which is how old my kids are and and I have my you know, my husband who's you know in there as well, you know that there is being able to communicate kind of what our needs are and what it's going to take for this family to, you know, keep moving and running and what I need in the in the midst of all this. Do I need to get out of the house? Do I need to take a shower? You know, and often that's something I'll verbalize first thing in the morning. I'll be like today, I need to take a shower, I need to take a walk and you know, I like to walk our dog, Sherman. I was like, I would like to walk Sherman later and you know, these are the things and really putting voice to those things is important to me and something I've had to learn a lot about as a mom and as a parent going from, you know, transitioning to non-parent life, to this new life and allowing yourself to still have that voice. Yeah.
So for folks who may have caught on at this point, we are recording this in March in like the throes of Corona in the USA. It's not coming out till May. So who knows what world will be living in at that point right now there's a lot of unknowns, but I had someone reach, my brother shared with me a schedule for his kids, who are now all of a sudden home and he and his wife are going to be working from home and they had this schedule that they created for the kiddos who are 9 and 11 and in it, two spots in it, in the daily, like list the response for chores and I got a lot of dms about this, about chores and one person referred to it as 'child labor' and I was like, oh interesting. I think of it as like being a part of the family and having responsibility for your space. And I think that then this really feeds into the self-care conversation because if like what is a child's role in the household, you know what I mean?
00:41:22 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yes, so whose, whose job is you know, making this all happen if it's not part of the families roles, you know, just in general, right? If we're not expecting kids to, you know, put their pajama pants like in the hamper or back on their bed to be worn tonight, you know, like, who else is going to do that? And what's the expectation for who who's going to do that which is you know, the parents.
And then who are we raising as adults? Right?
00:41:55 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah. I mean it has to, I mean my kids I think that's one thing we've always kind of tried to focus on is, you know is that this is a family routine, you know, whether whatever we call them, you know, everyone has to do their part to make our, we live in a very small old house, you know, so, I mean there's not much room for anything, you know to just be lying around like things have to be put away. Otherwise, we're falling all over it. And so we have to kind of clean up as we go and while still leaving space for mess which is like, you know, one of those I'm totally you know, happy to do, there's gonna be legos, there's going to be dolls on my floor like that's life, but they're also has to, we can't leave the food containers out and things like that. So it is I mean it's, I think chores can be a hot-button issue for sure, that term.
It was so interesting and unexpected. I was like, oh cool, here's a schedule. I'll share. Whoa. There were some unexpected. Yeah, well, I think one of the things that you noted that had come and then escaped my brain and just came back was, I think it's important. We're talking a lot about moms here and mom self-care and I think for folks this can be like, oh what about dads and equality and non-binary folks and I think it's really important to also acknowledge like historically what the setting was. And how women were viewed in society and in households and what their roles were and then how we've gotten to where we are because I think as we're having this conversation around equality. It's integral to the conversation to bring in what we have done in the past and what even just what thought patterns have been and how that's now feeding into systems today that are evolving. But still have room for growth a hundred percent.
00:43:54 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, and I think there is that kind of those leftover feelings about gender roles and beliefs and maybe what our houses looked like growing up and you know, when we do build families, we are both bringing those kind of beliefs from our childhood or just even you know, subconscious, you know things that we have kind of ideas about how this is all going to look and those ideas might all look different to whoever's involved in it and it is, I think it does take a lot of work and there's still a lot of work left to do I think around it.
Yeah, and I think you're right like subconsciously. What are we bringing to the table? And what are we I think as we've moved to more women in the workforce and more equality for women in a lot of ways still I think a lot of the household stuff falls on women, especially in hetero relationships where, sure you can work and plan that birthday party and make sure we're in the right school district and that you are part of all the assessment conversations and pediatric appointments are set and is there a birthday present for this kid's birthday party coming up? Even if you’re the delegator of the stuff I think a lot of these things still. We still have room for growth there.
00:45:16 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Definitely. Yeah, I think women, or mothers, you know, can say there's so much we've gained so much traction, you know women are you know, people are working outside the home. They're the primary, you know income earner in a lot of families like there is you know different, people are feeling different roles. I know Jenna Kutcher just did a podcast recently on you know, you know, there's I think it was Rachel Hollis's, her relationship with her, you know husband and you know how that was for him to kind of be, you know, I think that was a like supporting her as a CEO, you know and what that looked like and how kind of the reaction, I know Jenna Kutcher also has a husband who I think takes care of their child primarily and she of course is running this multimillion-dollar company, you know, and how there is still some expectations or questions around that that they get as couples like, "What do you do?" Or "What's your job" and he's like "I take care of the kids" like, you know that things are changing and things are evolving but there are still kind of just these long-held beliefs around. You know, I don't say what everyone should be doing, but there is I know I just got kind of cut off track from the whole mental load conversation that we were just going but it just made me think of it.
Well I think they play hand-in-hand the mental load in and the self-care. Because part of the self care is being able to have these conversations about how much of this feels like it's falling on your plate.
00:46:45 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah. Yeah, there's still stuff to do. They're still donating the old clothes and cycling in you know, what fits what doesn't fit, who needs new shoes? You know, what paperwork needs to go back to the school today? And you know, I think making even little things like making lunches, you know, there is a lot to do and who kind of gets assigned that tasks and you know, it's not easy to iron it all out, especially as women, you know as mothers and are having all these different role expectations in addition to you know just parenting right?
Right, right. Exactly and my hope for for folks tuning in today is to hear like little ways that they can take care of themselves and to give themselves Grace and give their kids space to not love it to have hard feelings if they decide they want to pee with the door closed. And that their child might be upset if you want to sit down and drink your coffee and you're not ready to play with them yet. And that's okay. It's okay for them to be upset about it. And it hopefully will pull away from your self-care practice.
00:48:12 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Definitely. I think that's you know, that's a huge gift, I think you're giving women and parents and mothers whatever, you know in this conversation is that freedom to say, you know, like it's okay to prioritize myself and that you're allowed to have as a child or you know to have that discomfort or want to protest that but I still need to do it there is I still need to get out and go to the dentist. I need to walk our dog even though you don't want me to you know, it's important that I get out and and showing them that that's important.
Yeah, I think I think it's huge and I think our inclination, Folks know here like I'm huge, do screen time if you want to do screen time, and it's okay for kids, I think our inclination is like I'm going to put on a show so that I can have a break and then there's the guilt of like and then I just put on a show and it just like a kick, you know compounds and I want to give folks also the freedom to say if you don't want to put on a show it's okay if they're upset about you making lunch and them not being entertained by something.
00:49:19 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Yeah, they're allowed to be bored, you know, and I think boredom is a gift in a lot of ways to you know, be giving kids the you know the ability to sit with themselves and that that's not always super entertaining, you know, we can sit in the car, you know do whatever and I'm not always going to be stimulated that sometimes I'm just gonna have to sit there and look off or find something to do or color or whatever and that's okay too like you said, you know, I think you just have to when I'm hearing from you is really that that flexibility is so important to like we do what we have to do to get through it all and we're allowed to make choices and we're just doing the best we can moment to moment. And that's what we really have to just sit with we can't kind of focus too much on what we did 10-15 minutes ago or even a month ago. We just have to recognize that we're just doing the best we can every single second of the day and making the choices that we do and they're okay, you know, we're going to make, we'll have maybe different information. We'll use that in a different way and go from there.
And it's just truly okay to prioritize you, I realized with myself. I can't do more than two straight hours without a minute of like not having a human on my body or even if it's like I'm going to go in the bathroom and close the door, even if I don't have to pee and just like have a minute to myself. I realized helps me show up as a way more regulated human and advocating, sometimes advocating to myself for myself for that is sometimes the hardest part, right?
00:50:59 Dr. Bryce Reddy
We are so set like the permission that we're worthy of that, you know and recognizing like you said that that's a need, you know, I need to be physically away from some people. You know, I need to go sit in a dark room or I need to drink my tea while it's hot instead of you know, having to reheat it 10 times. You know that we have to be able to be willing to kind of draw those, I want to say like lines in the sand and say like this is I'm owning this today. This is going to happen. Like I said, you know few minutes ago, you know, I like sometimes I wake up and I can really recognize my needs right away and be like this is what I need to do today and like putting it out there to my family whether they're two, five or you know an adult and this is what I need from today and one way we're going to make it happen because I need it and and that's okay. You know, we're worthy of that.
Yeah. Oh, I love it. So if folks want to follow along with you and get rad tools from you. Where can they do so?
00:51:57 Dr. Bryce Reddy
You can find me on Instagram at Mom Brain Therapist and I'm also on Facebook and putting together a Facebook group too and there I think I'm the Mom Brain Therapist. So but I'm sure if you put Mom, whatever you put in, it'll probably get you there one way or another and I'm working on a website which I have been building for a million years finally turn the little button to make it go on and that's what you know, that's where you can find me and I'm hanging out, so I'd love to have you join me.
Awesome. We will link to everything in the blog post, and if your website is up and running by the time this episode airs, we'll link to that as well.
00:52:34 Dr. Bryce Reddy
Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much for having me, Alyssa and for all of your listeners, I am so honored that you guys gave me a chance to come on and chat with you and hang out with you and drink my tea so, much thanks and Happy Mother's Day.
Happy Mother's Day to you.
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