Podcast

Parents are redefining what it means to be a working mom or dad and embracing what today’s guest, Neha Ruch, calls the grey area. As the founder of Mother Untitled she has a unique pulse on the mindset and challenges that modern mothers are facing when deciding to hit pause on career to focus on family life. 

In this episode we’ll discuss tuning into your own needs to determine what works best for right now and recognizing there will be time to readjust as you and your family grow and evolve. We’ll offer advice for navigating identify shifts, redefining self-care, and learning to feel confident fielding the all-too-common and all-too-intrusive question, what do you do all day?

Neha (00:00):

The departure from the workplace and the identity in the workplace, which for so much of us in our twenties and early thirties was so defining and then to transition, even if you chose it, really recognizing the value that you are creating in the home and then giving yourself the permission to take space for yourself is so huge.

Dr. Sarah (00:25):

Traditionally, parents have been defined as either a stay at home or a working mom or dad. Though neither one of these identities is free of massive amounts of pressure, judgment, and shaming. It seems you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. But here’s the thing, your child’s attachment style and your ability to connect to them and to be attuned to their needs are not defined by whether you’re a working or a stay at home parent. It’s defined by how loved, safe and seen your child feels. Today, I’m joined by Neha Ruch. After becoming a mother, Neha shifted her focus from career to family life. And in 2017, she created Mother Untitled to help empower other women deciding to hit pause or shift careers for motherhood. She is committed to helping end the stigma in our culture surrounding the stay at home mom. And she writes and speaks about enjoying the day-to-day of parenting, embracing creativity during a career pause and using this chapter for personal development. With the onset of modern technology, our black and white world is becoming quite gray. I mean, have you also forgotten what life before Zoom felt like? More and more opportunities that simply didn’t exist before are expanding. And we’re moving beyond the stereotypical nine to five style jobs of the past. In this episode, we’ll explore how rich and fulfilling your life and the lives of your family can be, whether you decide to work in the home or outside of it.

Dr. Sarah (02:04):

Hi, I’m Dr. Sarah Bren, a clinical psychologist and mom of two. In this podcast. I’ve taken all of my clinical experience, current research on brain science and child psychology and the insights I’ve gained on my own parenting journey and distilled everything down into easy to understand and actionable parenting insights. So you can tune out the noise and tune in to your own authentic parenting confidence and calm. This is Securely Attached.

Dr. Sarah (02:37):

Hi, I’m so excited to welcome Neha Ruch to the podcast. She is the founder of Mother Untitled, which is a platform that empowers women who are leaning into family life. And she’s going to tell us all about what that means, and also a lot of really interesting thoughts on the state of motherhood right now in our, in our current times. So, Neha, I’m so happy that you’re here. Thank you for coming on.

Neha (02:59):

Oh, Sarah that’s so kind of you. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Sarah (03:04):

I was thinking it would be helpful to give our listeners just a little background, like how you got to this place and how you kind of made this realization that this is the work that you want to do.

Neha (03:15):

Sure. So I spent about 10 years after college in advertising-brand. Ironically, my first job was working on mom blogs. So full circle. And that was before Twitter existed. So we’ve come a long way. And I’d gone to business school at Stanford. I’d graduated, come back to New York with my now husband and had landed what I thought was my dream job, but I definitely felt there was something missing. And when I had my son New Year’s Day of 2016, I just found that thing I was missing. Which was a level of purpose and peace in myself. And it felt really clear to me, and I had the choice to be, the privilege to make this choice that I wanted to make room to focus on that. And so I took a complete career pause and eventually transitioned back into two days of freelance work.

Neha (04:18):

But the rest of the time I was at home with him and I, you know, by nature of New York, maybe, and nature of early motherhood, I was meeting so many incredible women in moms groups and playgrounds and baby classes. And all of them were in these various stages of making their own shifts and pauses. And they represented to me such a different narrative than the one I was seeing in the media around women choosing to pause what I was feeling as I downshifted was this incredible amount of societal pressure and stigma. I got questions like why did you go to business school? Or are you going to feel bored all day? Are you sure you want to make this choice? And yet I was feeling so confident, so creative because I’d finally sort of unshackled myself from the ego I derived from work and was letting myself explore in other ways. And I felt so connected to these women who were also sort of growing and really represented a more powerful woman. And I decided to start Mother Untitled as a platform to really take on that narrative and create a modern representation of the ambitious woman choosing to make room for family.

Dr. Sarah (05:34):

I love that. I love that there’s this idea that pausing from the quote unquote workforce is not about giving up your power, giving up your creativity, giving up your purpose like that. You are still ambitious and you’re still working. It’s just not in the sort of box that we have created that defines the working mother, which is being dismantled, but it’s really, it’s in a very sort of undone process, I think.

Neha (06:07):

Yes. And I think that ambition is really, you know, about trusting yourself and trusting your path and aligning your choices with what matters to you right now, right. And redefining our success metrics for what matters right now. And certainly at that moment in time, my success metrics shifted from promotion to presence with my family. And I think that isn’t to say it doesn’t shift back down the line, but I really trusted that my career in life was a long game. And I wanted women making similar choices in shifts to feel that same confidence and clarity.

Dr. Sarah (06:49):

You know, I talk to women all the time, who, and myself, even, you know, who either choose to go back to work and receive tremendous judgment and feelings of huge guilt for that. And women who don’t go back to work and receive huge judgment and feelings of guilt for that. And then with COVID, there’s this whole new layer that has never, that we really haven’t even scratched the surface on, which is women who have to stay home because they don’t have childcare. They don’t have work that can accommodate the kind of needs that their family is now facing because of COVID. And they’re actually losing out on maybe, maybe that wasn’t the choice, but it’s the need as a result of a society that doesn’t support and prioritize, you know, working women’s and the unique need that we have and childcare and all, all these kinds of pieces, which is sort of a tangent, but also related to this.

Neha (07:52):

Right. Right. I think privilege is such an interesting part of this equation. And I think one of the things I like to share is that you know, stay at home mothers, there’s become this narrative that staying at home is in some way a luxury. When in reality, a lot of women have to stay home, right? They don’t have the privilege to keep working. So for some women, it’s a choice and an empowered choice. And for some women it’s a need. And by the way, that privilege goes many different ways. It’s not really the privilege isn’t to be a stay at home mother, the privileges isn’t to be a working mother the privileges isn’t to exist in the in-between, it’s really to be able to get to choose. And I think that, and when we accept that, when we accept that the privilege is to get to choose, then we say, okay, how can I set myself up in this moment in time to be the best version of myself based on what me and my family needs.

Neha (08:57):

And I think that, that also, you know, one of the things, the like challenges, this concept of guilt is it’s so unfortunate because we all feel it, no matter what choice you make. Whether you’re working, whether you’re at home or you’re somewhere in between. And I think the only way to sidestep it is to really realize that like, whatever choice you’re making, if it allows you to be the best version of yourself for your children, your children will feel loved no matter what .I think, you know, there’s been so much research to show and Sarah, you could expand on this, but attachment isn’t about staying at home or working it’s about do I feel safe and loved by these people who are, am I do I feel like the center of these people’s world and you can achieve that no matter what decision you make.

Neha (09:44):

And then it’s just much more about you. And in my case, I can speak for myself and I can speak for sort of the 250 women we’ve interviewed on this, on Mother Untitled, that it was really about an internal audit of me saying, I want this for myself. This phase, this period of prioritizing early parenthood, and I want to make room for creativity and connection alongside. I’m going to construct a version of balance that works for me right now. And it’s look different act different times and the kids have been on, right? No matter what.

Dr. Sarah (10:18):

Yes. And I think you speak to like one of the most important things that I like to try to help families understand is like, there is no one right way to create the foundations for secure attachment relationships. It’s not about the formula of, you must do this, this, this, this, and this it’s, how does it feel? How does a child feel? A child can feel safe if you work full time and a child can feel safe. If you’re with them full time. A child can feel unsafe if you’re with them full time and can feel unsafe if you’re at work all the time. It’s not about what you do, it’s how you do it and how the child feels, how much do they understand what’s going on? How much do they have a say in the way their day goes and how the, you know, how much choice do they have? How do we honor their emotional response to separating from us? How do we, you know, reunite after we separate, those are the things that matter. Not whether or not we go to work or whether or not we stay home.

Neha (11:17):

Right. And I it’s, I love hearing you speak because I think, you know, one of the questions I get a lot from, you know, women choosing to pause or make room for family is how do you not get bored? And, you know, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot to that, right? Which is, you know, setting yourself, setting up predictable rhythms in your day, not just about the kid, but also for yourself, incorporating yourself into those routines. I, art and sensory play is something I incorporated into our day to day. Not because I thought it was great for the kids, but because I enjoyed it, it gave me something look forward to at 9:00 AM. And for other friends who are like, oh gosh, that makes my eyeballs bored. Like they would cook at home with their kids, or they would go outside and play dates with friends and coffee dates with their friends, you know, incorporating part elements of yourself into the day-to-day routine with kids is great.

Neha (12:11):

The other part, though, I would, I always say is the psychological study of children and really learning about all of this, you know, taking a parenting style, like conscious parenting or whatever it is, and really studying. It allowed me to be able to explore, like in the most mundane of moments, tune into my kid and figure out what’s really going on with them. And that is like absolutely fascinating, but it also let me learn so much about myself. And I think that has been the growth that I never expected in these last few years was yes, you grow on the dimensions of time management and organization and from leadership and empathy, I really was able to peel back the layers on myself in the last few years. And I think that sort of personal growth in parenting via the study of children, which, you know, some people can do in a really clinical way. And some people do in this, in the comfort of their home

Dr. Sarah (13:10):

Right, case study. Right?

Neha (13:12):

Yeah, exactly. I just think that that growth he’s really immense. And one of the things I share a lot in the community is that whether you’re, you’ve taken a break from the workplace, you are still growing and that growth is pretty phenomenal.

Dr. Sarah (13:28):

Yeah. And I think it’s, I mean, I’m also curious too for, cause I know that there are stay-at-home moms out there that might be listening to this who have lost them selves or have felt like I’m, I’m in this like sort of martyr ditch where I can’t, I just, I don’t have space for myself. My kids take up all of this space and I am missing what I had before I had kids or I’m missing the fantasy of the life that I was building before kids and I might’ve chose, or maybe I didn’t choose, but I am here now. And I want to find a way to own it again, like I think that’s a lot of what you guys talk about in mother untitled is like, yes, parenthood and having a relationship with your kids is important and how you approach parenting is important. Obviously I have a whole podcast on that, but like you can’t really parent, if you yourself don’t have a relationship with yourself, that feels good to you. So like how, what are your thoughts for those women that are like, I’m lost, I’ve lost it.

Neha (14:35):

And I think that you’re right. So the departure from the workplace and the identity in the workplace, which for so much of us in our twenties and early thirties was so defining and then to transition, even if you chose it, even if you had made a very conscious, empowered choice can feel colossal. And I think that defining for yourself really recognizing the value that you are creating in the home and then giving yourself the permission to take space for yourself is so huge. I think one of the huge recurring false limiting beliefs that I’ve heard from everyone in our firm, so many women I’ve interviewed in this sort of gray area of making room for family is if I don’t do paid work, I don’t deserve help. That is, I want to destroy that belief because the reality and this sort of goes back Sarah, to the conversation we were having earlier about working parents or stay at home parent and attachment. Kids pick up on your energy.

Neha (15:39):

And so if you can give yourself whatever you need to be your strongest version that allows that feeds the whole family, taking space for yourself, isn’t selfish. It lets you show up better. And I think when you allow yourself that support and the permission to ask whether that’s asking your partner to wake up every morning so that you can have from 7:00, from 6:30 to 7:30 to give yourself an hour to do whatever lights you up. Or you say we as a family are going to budget for a babysitter because if allows our whole family to function better, I think giving yourself that permission to ask for or budget for help to reconnect with what lets you feel whole is such a such a big deal for women in this stage of life. And I think the part two of that is then being really conscious of what that self care quote unquote looks like.

Neha (16:42):

And I think self care gets such a bad rap because we think of it in one way. When in reality it looks different for you as it does. For me, for me, it has not always meant exercise, which I know like every doctor in the planet would be like, oh wait, it should definitely include exercise. But I, you know, for me, it was at different times, exercise was walking around with my stroller, but I would take that time I had for myself for writing, because that was what really made me feel like I was connecting to a creative version of myself into personal growth or therapy, you know, so that I felt like I was personally using this chapter of my life to personally work on areas that I had left unchecked for long periods of time. But giving myself the permission to make that time for myself and then using it for the things that actually made me feel good and not the things that like I thought I was supposed to do.

Dr. Sarah (17:38):

Yes.

Neha (17:39):

It was really, really powerful.

Dr. Sarah (17:43):

Yes, and like, just to expand on that idea of like self care. I, one, I think people have a lot of myths around it. One myth is that it’s selfish. The other myth is that it has to look like healthy quote unquote healthy restorative stuff. And sure. There’s time and space for that, but that doesn’t actually need to be in your self-care time. Like you can, like you said, like you can go exercise with your kid and have that be mom time and then have that time. Honestly, like I have talked to patients where I’m like, it’s okay, if you got 30 minutes break, it’s okay to scroll on your phone for 30 minutes. But the key is before you get on that phone, take a deep breath, relish it, say, I am going to enjoy the heck out of this 30 minute phone scroll. And let it fill you up.

Dr. Sarah (18:32):

Don’t have that 30 minutes of phone time turn out to be like, oh my God, I’m the worst. I can’t believe I just wasted this 30 minutes that was gonna, supposed to do this, this and this on. And now I’m like beating myself up. Like that doesn’t fill you up. It depletes you. So two of the exact same behaviors, it doesn’t matter what they are. If you allow them to fill you up, it fills you up. If you deny its capacity to fill you up and you beat yourself up for it, you’re, you’ve wasted that time. So it’s not about again, it’s not about what you do, it’s how you do it every time.

Neha (19:05):

I love that because it also I have this clarity guide on Mother Untitled and the intention for it is to get crystal clear on all the different sort of on your wheel of life, in your work dimension, in your motherhood dimension, in your relationship dimension, what you are choosing to embrace and gain by the choices you’re making and what you accept is not for right now. And I think allowing, you know, getting clear on that and you can revisit that as often as you like, lets you be able to enjoy this chapter so much more. Because if you say and I’ll utilize me as an example, if you make a choice like I do where I’m working two days on a community and project and the rest of the time I’m at home. And I am not clear that what that means is that I’m not going to operate at the same pace as everyone else. It doesn’t mean my purpose is less intact, but I’m not operating at the same pace. What I’m gaining is presence with my family while holding onto a creative and impactful endeavor, right? I know what I’m gaining. I also know what I have to accept. And it lets me live in this gray area with much more peace than if I fumbled through it. And every week thought like, oh my God, I don’t have enough hours to do the things I want to do.

Dr. Sarah (20:32):

Oh, that like total full acceptance. Like this is where I am in this moment. And it’s good.

Neha (20:41):

And it’s good for right now. And I think right now is so key when women are preparing to pause or they’re preparing to make a transition. Oftentimes if they, for example, do not feel clear and feel torn. The biggest advice I can offer is, take this moment for what it is, which is right now. You can come back in three months in three weeks and reevaluate. And I think that life is such a long game. Career is such a long game and it is such an iterative process. My versions of balance have looked so different in the, you know, I have a five and a half year old son it’s looked different every year. The pandemic. I remember, I came into the pandemic being like, this is going to be my time. I go back to part-time work on Mother Untitled like fully out of the home. And then I, you know, that dream got sidelined and, but the point being that it is so iterative and you can, you can sort of reevaluate on an ongoing basis.

Dr. Sarah (21:41):

Yeah. And I think too, just like pivoting just a little bit to this idea of like, okay, women in the workforce and women who choose to leave the workforce, but don’t want to be done building stuff. And how that, like that narrative has kind of shifted, like this is a different, that wasn’t an option a couple of decades ago that there just, there was, it was much more binary. You know, you either have a job or you stay at home with your kids and those are the two choices pick one. And you’re damn going to feel guilty, no matter which one you do and we’ll shame you, no matter which one you do. So how is that shifting? Like you’ve got your finger on this pulse. Like what are you seeing?

Neha (22:23):

Well, I love that you ask that question cause I talk a lot. You’ve heard me say it a few times. In the last bit, this concept of the gray area, and I think the gray area is such a gift because it allows us to shift more fluidly between those very sort of archaic black and white notions of stay-at-home and working mother. Right. It lets us be able to tune into what works for right now and then readjust. And that area, you know, when you look back into the 1970s, right, there was this huge feminist movement that was so powerful and so fabulous for women because it helped us focus on the, working on the women on women’s value in the workplace. What we did though in media is we sort of then left the women choosing to be at home with this very archaic notion of being at home.

Neha (23:19):

You know, this 1970s image, which didn’t have a tech connection to technology, didn’t have the opportunities to freelance to start entrepreneurial ventures. And what we’ve seen in the last five to seven years is this huge expansion on the freelance economy in huge part due to, and I think when we add technology into that equation, it really has opened the doors for a lot of women to be able to straddle the in-between and dial up or dial down how much they can or want to give to work alongside motherhood. And I think that’s a really powerful thing, not only on an individual basis, but what I do think it lets us do is start to disarm the quote unquote, like mommy wars between stay-at-home and working mother, right? Because now there’s this gray area where we’re all working in different dimensions and we’re making a choice for right now. And we may revisit that choice next year. But we’re all in the same boat of constantly recalibrating what works for our family. And I think that’s a really powerful thing for women to sort of align together.

Dr. Sarah (24:36):

Yeah. It’s very uniting. I think the things that make us similar are far greater than the things that make us different, you know, and there’s a little bit of the grass is always greener kind of phenomenon that this, this myth, right? Like, oh, if only I could be home with my kids all day, everything would be so much easier and that would be better. Or if only I could just get away to an office and have a break, like things would be that much better. And like the reality is, is you’re always juggling. Cause you’re always, no matter what you do. And this is true for fathers, this is true for every parent. Like I think once you have a child come into this world, you are forever conflicted. You are forever battling some level of how do I give enough of me to this other being and still give to myself like, cause we’re no longer just ourself anymore. We’re permanently intertwined with this other being who would like, all of us would take all of us if we would give it. And I think we get very tempted to give it all because who wouldn’t want to just keep giving to that little adorable face? You know, it feels good to give to them, but we have to make sure that we don’t give everything we have and then we’re empty.

Dr. Sarah (26:01):

And that again, like totally looks different for all different people. And it may be about work. It may not be about work. It may be about something totally different, but like you have, like you said, it’s like, it’s easy. You have to do that. Evaluation, that self evaluation, what do I need? What do I want, what’s missing? How do I get it? And that’s not about your kids. You will be a better, more present parent. If you answer those questions for yourself about yourself.

Neha (26:26):

100%. I actually think to the point of sort of dismantling this power, chasm, this conflict between these very archaic notions of stay at home and working mother, I think when we all own the choice as a choice for ourselves and not a choice about our children, right? It’s not about the kids benefit like choosing to stay home. I think so often we had these, these narratives about, I chose to stay home so that my kids are secure. I chose to work so that my kids have this great model of a woman in the workplace. If that immediately puts another person on the defensive, if we instead say I chose to, because right now, like that makes me feel like being at home makes me feel really good and we’ll see what happens next. Or I chose to work because I really love what I do. And you know, I think when we own our own choice and do that evaluation, it brings down the guard between women in a, in a different way too.

Dr. Sarah (27:23):

Yeah, that’s a really poignant way of thinking about it. I also think it speaks to our need to please others and to like, you know, manage other people’s expectations of us and always be like, you know, we, we’ve spoken a little bit about like people asking kind of intrusive questions, like, well, what do you do all day? Or don’t you get bored? Or, you know, how do you answer those questions? How can we help empower mothers and parents and anybody to be able to shift that narrative so that they can, they have, they have the tools to respond to questions that frankly are kind of inappropriate and intrusive and judgmental questions. I don’t think most people who ask those questions realize that I don’t think they’re coming from that place of judgment. I think they’re curious or they’re trying to understand it, but it doesn’t make it feel any less.

Neha (28:18):

Oh my gosh, the question, how do I answer, what do I do once I’m once I’m pausing, my career is the single biggest question I’ve gotten on Mother Untitled. And we do have a few posts about it and I do have a script for it. And I actually think it’s a reflection on this sort of this whole conversation, which is to say, number one, it’s not, you do not owe anyone else that answer, but owning that narrative for yourself is key, right? And so practicing that script isn’t necessarily to please other people and to feel, it’s so that you feel clear on your choices and you feel confident when, and if that question does come up, which it will because our culture is that is what we are taught. That is how we’re taught to connect. What do you do? You know, it’s just a part of the fabric of our society.

Neha (29:17):

And I don’t see that coming changing anytime soon, but I think answering for yourself that question first is so important. And the way I think about it is to say right now, so leading with that, just for this moment, I’m choosing to, I get to be home with my kids or I get to focus on my family. And that comes out of the gate with a place, from a place of empowerment. I get to means that you chose to be home. That is your choice for right now. We’ll see what comes next, leaves the door open for that exploration and to see, and also affirm for yourself that this is not a fixed place. And I think allowing that conversation to remain succinct, come from a place of empowerment and leave room for exploration is so is, is a reflection on the whole chapter, which is to say it’s an empowered choice, but I’m going to see what comes and evolves from this place of growth.

Neha (30:30):

And I find having those scripts to be super helpful in owning the narrative. I think that question of, are you going to get bored all day is something deeper because I got that question quite often. And I often felt when I heard it, it was the, the tool I used was remembering that the person asking is often asking because they’re working through their own experiences with their choices around how they spent time with their children or how their family chose to spend time with their children. And I think oftentimes it was more a reflection on them and less of a reflection on me and creating their, Sarah, You talk about it as an inner boundary, but creating that inner wisdom within myself to know that when those questions that felt intrusive or judgemental came up, it was more of a reflection on that person and not intended to demean nor condescend how I was spending my time was so empowering. And from there, I really, it was freeing in knowing I did not have to help them to understand that was on them to understand or not to understand.

Dr. Sarah (31:38):

I love that the freedom to not have to help them understand it. Like the defensiveness that immediately gets kicked up in us that says like, I now have to explain myself to you. Not because you’re asking me to explain myself, although you are, but really, because I’m like, if I don’t explain myself to you, is it true? Am I actually not really doing anything? Like I have to prove to myself now that I’m doing something of meaning. So I have to kind of explain it to you. It’s like you free yourself of all of that. When you say that’s not a question I have to answer, not because you don’t have, I don’t, I don’t owe you an answer, but really, because that’s not the question being asked.

Neha (32:16):

Yes, yes.

Dr. Sarah (32:17):

They’re not asking me to justify my existence. They are really asking me about themselves. And all I have to do is say to myself in that moment, ah, they’re working through that. That’s them, I’m me. And you know, a simple, no, I don’t find that I get bored at all or yeah, sometimes, but I think we all, as human beings, experience boredom and that’s a wonderful creative space to exist into. You know, there’s lots of ways you can respond to that. I think, but that, I think the internal response is what really matters that says, like, you know, you mentioned internal boundaries. Like I talk a lot about this idea of like external versus internal boundaries. External boundaries are boundaries that we set that require another person’s cooperation and participation for it to work. Right. Please don’t ask me those questions anymore. It doesn’t make me feel good and I want you to stop.

Dr. Sarah (33:19):

They would have to respect that boundary for it to be present. An internal boundary is something that you don’t need, anybody else’s participation in. It’s just something that exists within you. It’s private, it’s you? That the inner voice that says, ah, that’s their working through this? I don’t have to answer that question. I don’t need to defend myself. I that’s them. I’m me. That’s an internal boundary. And I think there’s a time and place for both. But I think knowing that you have a choice, not everything has to be a direct confrontation to set an effective boundary either.

Neha (33:52):

Yes. And so much of that is your deciding who that individual is and what their importance is, right? Like if that’s your partner asking you, and this is a recurring conversation that external boundary is going to be much more much more valuable. And by the way, I think that warrants such a larger conversation about value in the home and you know, all of that, if this conversation is with a peer, it can often, I think just, I think that internal boundary is just so powerful because that’s a tool you can take with you from through many conversations.

Dr. Sarah (34:31):

Yeah. I feel like that partner, that question’s coming from your partner, that warrants a whole nother podcast episode that we could dive into, on like how do we help partner partnerships understand these concepts and how do we help them empower each other? Ubecause again, I don’t think it’s coming from, I think if a partner is asking you, what do you do all day? Are you bored? I don’t think it’s coming, sometimes it might be, from a place of like malice or you know, real, not like real being, not nice. I think it’s more curious, the same kind of issue. Like they’re working through how they feel about the time they get to spend with the kids. And it’s not as much about you as it is about them, but that can lead to, or more likely rather than leading to really evidences that there’s a lot below the water line. That’s the tip of the iceberg. And then there’s other stuff going on that probably is going to get in the way of an effective co-parenting collaborative relationship. Uso worth, you know, exploring with a couples therapist or a parenting coach, or I don’t know, cool. Somebody who could help you guys work through that because I think that’s important.

Neha (35:55):

Yeah. And it lays the groundwork for so much else. I mean, we’ve touched on help and the permission to hire, help or set up support systems in the home. Right. or ask your partner for, to wake in the mornings or to co-parent in the evenings. And I think so much of I think successful you know, setting your time at home up for success includes your partner and them seeing the value in what you do. So yes, that is probably worth another podcast, but absolutely worth exploration. If that question is coming up within the home though, I think for the purposes of the outside the home, I think it’s much easier to just do the inner work and and go from there.

Dr. Sarah (36:38):

Yeah. I love that. So let’s sort of, kind of recap a little bit, cause I think that some of the most important takeaways I took away from this conversation were that having permission to, to, to pause in the way that feels like a choice to you, or like finding a way to make sure that you recognize that this is a choice, whatever, or that privilege really is being able to choose how to use those choices intentionally and find time for yourself that is intentional. Like I think that whole idea of finding meaningful self care that is authentic to you, that you are present for is so important. I love that.

Neha (37:28):

And I love that. You know, when you talked about losing, you know, women worrying about losing yourself, the one thing that I was left holding was also, I think we are all evolving, right? No matter what choice we make. And I think we get this incredible opportunity if you choose to pause, or if you choose to downshift to make more room for motherhood to meet your next version of yourself. And, you know, we talked a lot about the gray area and which I’m sure was your next takeaway about this sort of burgeoning space where women can, when they’re ready find ways to connect back to the workforce. But equally there’s so much learning that can lead you to new ventures. There’s so many women doing career pivots because it really lets you know, motherhood. And I’m sure you secure this with your clients. Sarah really holds up a mirror and forces you to think about how do I spend my time and how do I, what do I want to spend it on? And I think taking that pause or shift to make more rim can lead you to make more room for the next version of yourself and your career. And I think that’s, you know, giving yourself that time to be able to explore is really powerful.

Dr. Sarah (38:40):

Yeah. And I think one of the ways that you can really set yourself up to do that without guilt is to recognize that the whole bit about it’s the, how not the what, right. It doesn’t matter what you do. It’s how you do it. If you want to help your kids feel securely attached and feel safe, you can do that in any form that your career takes. And that can help reduce the guilt. I think that comes with moving right? Moving, shifting, growing, changing. I’m not staying still in one spot. And I think sometimes parents think I have to sort of freeze and stay here in this one spot and not move, otherwise my kid’s not going to know that I’m here for them. It’s like, no, we’re all growing. Our kids are growing. We’re growing. I always say like the second kid doesn’t get the same parent as the first kid, because we grew along with that first kid or different person by the time the second kid comes along we’re always evolving. Even if you’re not a parent, like we’re growing, we’re all growing all the time. And so I think, yeah, it’s okay to move.

Neha (39:53):

Yes, 100%. And I think that it’s okay to meet new versions of yourself and reevaluate. And I think one of the other themes we talked a lot about is it’s a long game and not, this is for right now. So whatever your choice is, you can come back and recalibrate on what your version of balance looks like. And and that ownership on what’s what you’re gaining and what’s going to give for right now.

Dr. Sarah (40:19):

Love it. Love it. Thank you so much for coming on. And we should definitely revisit this as we keep growing

Neha (40:27):

Many times so many, you know, you said the thing about second kids and I wish you and I had met back then. I had such a hard time after my second until someone told me yes, your second child is not going to get the version of you that you were before and that’s okay. That’s going to make her who she’s meant to be. And I think that that was such a gift. So I wish I’d met you then.

Dr. Sarah (40:51):

Uh, I wish I had known that too. I had the same. I think I realized that because I was on the floor with my second. I was like, wait a minute. What is happening? Like I had so much confidence the first time around and then I had a second and I was like, I can’t, I’m not, I can’t give her what I gave my son and I’m not giving my son what I used to give him, you know, before she came along. So I just felt this huge, tremendous guilt. And it really, it took a lot of work to figure that out.

Neha (41:23):

Same. You literally took the words out of my mouth. I’m pretty sure I wrote that down somewhere, back then in a journal. And it’s amazing how that though led to the growth. So even those, you know, those tricky bits. A lot of self-development.

Dr. Sarah (41:38):

Yeah. It is. And that’s the work. That’s the hard work. It’s worth it though. All right. Well, I wonder, I wish you the best of luck with Mother Untitled. I’m excited to follow along and see how it grows and we’ll talk soon.

Neha (41:54):

Thank you, Sarah. Thank you for the work you’re doing.

Dr. Sarah (41:57):

Thank you.

Dr. Sarah (42:05):

Thanks for listening. At the end of the day, so much of this boils down to determining what is right for you and your own family and not feeling guilty for taking up space. We all deserve that. And this really takes some resilience on our part, but here’s the good news. Resilience is a muscle and the more we work at it, the stronger it gets. And that is true for our kids too.

Dr. Sarah (42:28):

If you want to help your child to build their resilience muscle, check out my free guide, fostering resilience from birth. It’s so important to focus on the things that we have control over. So that’s why this guide gives you behavior modifications, that you can make yourself as the parent. And I’ll give you actual phrases that you can swap out. And of course explain the why behind that, that way you aren’t just reading off a script. Instead, you’re learning the psychology behind these shifts so you can adapt them to fit pretty much any situation that might arise.

Dr. Sarah (43:00):If you want to understand the building blocks of resilience so you can help your child to tolerate distress, develop a growth mindset, and increase self-esteem, check out this free guide. Go to my website, drsarahbren.com. That’s drsarahbren.com and click on the resources tab to download. And don’t forget to follow, subscribe, like, and rate the podcast. Your support means the world to me, and it helps us spread the word to more parents just like you. So thanks for listening. And don’t be a stranger.


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