Bryce Reddy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor specializing in motherhood and parenting and a mom of 3 living in New England. She supports mothers and families on social media under the handle @mombrain.therapist.
Bryce's story includes infertility, postpartum depression, IVF, miscarriages and most recently, an unexpected 3rd child at 38.
Right away we dive into the highs and lows of what social media has offered parents in the last 5-10 years - a community, validation, advice and also - guilt, pressure, and addiction among many other things.
In this episode, she shares...
Follow her on Instagram to take part in the weekend polls, and join her Over the Influence Challenge to be more mindful of your relationship with your screen.
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I think that rainbow was like a great example of how I was kind of being influenced by this idea of like things my kids needed or things I need to be or who I needed to be for my kids. And at this point, I've been working with families for years and years and years. And it's still got me
ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood, I mean, have too much anxiety. And not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is failing motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you've happened earbuds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend. We're so glad you're here. Hey, it's Danielle. On today's episode, I'm interviewing Bryce Reddy, who is better known as at Mom Brain dot therapist on Instagram. I have followed her forever. So it's total fangirl moment for me. Because she is so transparent and ready to share her story her learnings, her platforms, all the things. She's a licensed mental health counselor, specializing in motherhood and parenting. And as a mom of three living in New England. She supports moms and families on social media, for the most part on her platform at mom, brain dot therapist, but she also has resources on Etsy. She runs challenges periodically. And she's just a wealth of knowledge when it comes to motherhood, Mom rage, social media addiction, postpartum depression, anxiety, all the things. So we cover a lot in this interview, we get to talk about social media as a whole, and Instagram and the behind the scenes view that she gets to have during her weekend polls, which she talks a lot about, and how that gives us a window into other people's lives and how we just kind of get to feel out what normal is and have resources for our insecurity. We also talk about social media in the ways that it affects her parenting. And she tells a story about losing her patience while using her phone to load something on Instagram when her kids needed her attention, and how that was a wake up call for her to develop a way to reduce her dependency and her relationship with her screen and reduce her screen time by like 77%. And so she's going to be running another one of those challenges really soon. And I have all the information for that in the show notes. She also shares her journey of infertility, both with her first and her second. And just the challenge that that was on her mental health, the ways that she gives us permission to unfollow and be able to find our true values and our confidence in knowing what is for us by navigating that relationship of how we feel, clicking on to and clicking off of social media. And you have full permission to unfollow me on Instagram, if that is what you need to do. Because I really do want you to be thriving, and having a really good relationship with the resources that you have in your pocket. She also shares a little bit about her unplanned pregnancy at 38 and her third baby who is their mystery guest and just really shares behind the scenes of what it's like to be a part of so many families lives in this strange time that we're all trying to figure out and how to live on a public platform. And so I just really hope that you can go follow her on Instagram take part in the weekend polls so that you can feel a part of an even bigger community, as well as taking advantage of maybe her over the influence challenge coming up soon for the summer so that you can really feel good about your relationship with your phone. All right, let's dive in to this episode with Bryce Welcome to failing motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I'm joined by Bryce ready, aka mom, brain therapist on Instagram. Thank you so much for taking the time.
Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited. Of
course, this is one of those like weird parasocial relationships. Because I feel like I've known you for a while you were one of the very first accounts that I found on Instagram. Actually, that was like a mom related account, I kind of missed the boat, I was one of those that like, stayed on Facebook a lot longer and wasn't really on Instagram until a couple years into motherhood. So finding yours is definitely refreshing and kind of opened me up to the world. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, necessarily that I didn't follow a whole ton of accounts right off the bat. But I really have followed you for a while. And so I would love for you to be able to share with my listeners kind of who you are, and what you do and who's in your family.
All right, so my name is Bryce. And like you mentioned, I am a licensed mental health counselor, based out of New England in the Massachusetts area. And I am a mom of three, I have an eight year old, a five year old and a six month old who kind of just joined the party recently, and it was a great surprise into our lives. And we are just living our lives, you know, balancing it all as much as possible and doing the best we can.
I love that. Yeah, I've kind of followed that journey with your third a little bit, you know, from from a ways away. And so how long have you had your account?
So I think I started in 2019, I want to say so I was on about a year before the whole like pandemic situation kind of blew up social media. And I started basically, as I think more of like a postpartum account, like that was what I was focusing on when I first got on there. And as I think anyone that goes onto social media, or at least most people know, that are like starting these types of like helper accounts, it takes a little bit of time to kind of like find your way and to find out like what you want to talk about and like what's like kind of resonating with you and what's resonating with your audience and finding your particular voice. And so since that time, I've kind of evolved past that postpartum stage and more into kind of just like, everyday motherhood and mental health. And that's kind of the place I'm at right now. Yeah, and you
only have like, 230,000 Yeah, it's not like, it's
it's such a surreal thing. You know, it's one of those things where you just kind of start one day and you start posting things, and you start making like, you know, graphics or whatever. And then all of a sudden, you have found, oh, wow, like, there is like, people resonating with this. And it's a very interesting place to be. Yeah.
And so I wanted to ask you all about your story, but let's just talk about social media while we're on the topic for a minute. Because, where, where do you feel like that relatability really came in? Like, what about your content? Do you feel like was different? Or New or refreshing? Or like, how did you grow so fast?
Um, you know, I don't always kind of know the answer. But one of the biggest things, I think that is the gift of being a therapist is that, you know, I've been a therapist for, you know, 1516 years at this point. And one of the biggest gifts of this job, I think, is recognizing that, you know, the common thread of humanity, right, that I can sit in a room with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. And now 1000s of people on Instagram, and our stories, while the details are different, there is so much that we all have in common about kind of the ups and downs of life. And there's really very little unique about any one of us. And I think kind of allowing people to see that, that there is this common thread amongst us all, especially in motherhood and parenting, that people really resonate with that they resonate with this feeling of like, Oh, I'm not alone, or this, like, I think I'm so weird, quote unquote, weird or different than other people. And then recognizing that, you know, 1000s of other people are experiencing something similar to you. People, people are drawn to that they find comfort in that.
Oh, yeah. 100% Because that we might not be having those conversations with our moms, our friends in real life. You know, we don't have that village that we really do want to feel like we need to because we need that true validation, we need to know we're not alone.
And I think even when we do have the village, there's just stuff that we don't talk about socially, right? You know, that there is these this kind of hidden stuff, maybe you have like one or two people in your life if that that you can ask those kind of like very intimate questions too. But I find that people will reach out to me and be like, can you ask like your audience this and it's really it's sometimes it's really basic stuff, you know, stuff that you would never really think to, like people were wondering about but stuff that people are walking around being like, is this how other people do it is this you know, what do you think and there is this real kind of Have I just like, urge or desire to kind of hear from the people around us what's really inside of them?
Mm hmm. And I feel like you get you get a really unique behind the scenes lens with those weekend polls, because they are kind of quote unquote anonymously asked. So, you know, moms feel more comfortable to ask something that they might not ask their best friend, because there is that like, anonymity involved. So what has that experience been like for you to get to read all the submissions each week?
Yeah, so that we get a lot about, like, 50,000 people go through the polls, sometimes on the weekends, depending on kind of like the time of year, and if there's holidays, and things like that. But I think, you know, going back to what I said about before about the common thread of humanity is that I get hung like hundreds of the same questions, you know, over and over again. And every weekend, there's so many similar questions. And I try and pick like unique ones each weekend. But, you know, there is that constant reminder, that message that I'm getting from kind of the work I do offline and online, is that there is so much amongst us that is similar, you know, we're more alike than different. And we're all wondering the same things. We're all struggling with similar things. And there is that lesson again, and again, that keeps coming back to me about our similarities.
Hmm. I should have prefaced for those that don't already follow you. Oh, sure. What are we talking about?
So on the weekends, I do for the past, I think over two years now, I've been doing it every Saturday and Sunday. And I set up a question box, basically, in my Instagram stories, and people can submit a yes, no, either or question for the group at large to answer. And within that, you know, little Instagram story, there's a poll, and people can click like, yes or no, or, you know, sometimes they're more specific, like, you know, variations of yes or no. And people respond. And we get kind of this, you know, just a bunch of submissions in terms of like what other people are doing. And it comes out with like percentages like this, many people said yes, or a 67% say they do wash their hair through, you know, three times a week, like, sometimes they're very benign questions like that. And then I also have a discussion group that I started, where people can go and share resources and share ideas, or discuss or ask questions that are related to the polls. And people do this, you know, it's not anonymously, but it is a private group. So you have to be in the group to actually see kind of what people are writing. So it's kind of created kind of a little bit of an event around the weekend that people kind of tune into, and they can do while they're up feeding their babies late at night, or they can do after they put their kids to bed, or, you know, when they just need kind of like a little bit of a mental break.
Yeah, that's definitely part of my weekend routine.
I used to write I think, people write me all the time that they do it with their partners, or they, you know that it's just something they do, that's kind of just for them, and they can go and I think there's also like something that feels good about sharing your information, your knowledge, like in the discussion group, people sharing ideas that have worked for them, or sharing accounts that have worked for them, or websites, you know, that there's so many opportunities to kind of come together and share experiences and information. Mm hmm.
So what are some of those questions that you get all the time?
People want to know a lot about like, sex and stuff, right? Like, they want to know, like, how much people are having, like, you know, that sort of thing, and tons of how much partners are helping with household, like division of labor type stuff. So that sort of thing is something we hear about all the time, you know, does your husband do this? Does your partner do this, you know, and also kind of lots of people I want to say, like, questioning their relationships, in some ways, like feeling like, I don't know if this is like a good fit for me and kind of something that they're really struggling with, and very feeling very alone with. And so they put those questions out, and I, you know, you usually do see that there is other people feeling alone and isolated in either a decision or feeling that you're having as well. So I'd say those are the top ones, like kind of lots of relationship stuff comes up. And also lots of worries that like is my kid normal, basically, you know, like, it all kind of goes back to this idea, like my kid does this does your kid do this? Like, you know, that does this kind of on the range of normal? Like, I feel? I'm not sure about it. And so kind of looking for, you know, some validation in that way as well.
Yeah. Because when you don't have a basis of quote unquote, like normal or what to expect in a marriage what to expect in your kids development. Yeah, you're just kind of aimless.
Yeah, it is, you know, and even when you kind of do, you know, there's this kind of feeling. You know, I have three kids and I think I always go back and I'm like, you know, there are three completely different humans like, I'm always baffled at how I've like produced this many, three children that are so vastly different. and they have such varied needs and like, ways that they move through the world. And you know it. Even I find myself my Googling, I'm like digital, like, how do I feel about this? Like, it's just what they did? I don't remember, you know? Yeah. Yeah. You know, we're always that's the nature I think of, you know, parenthood and motherhood in a lot of ways is this kind of level of uncertainty?
Oh, yeah. And when sometimes all we need to know, to like curb that anxiety is like someone, someone else out there has a kid just like mine? Do you think
it's getting comfortable within the uncertainty I think is the biggest challenge of parenthood in a lot of ways is that there is, you know, so much uncertainty, and something that we haven't necessarily had much experience with in our lives prior to parenthood, because, you know, prior to parenthood, we're like, I can apply for this, you know, job, or I can do my job, and I'm good at my job, or I can go to college, I can, you know, be good at school. Because if I do X, X and X, I'll graduate, you know, whereas like, you get a kid and you're like, there is no roadmap and you're like, I can do X, X and X and like, he or she could still be who knows what could happen, right? Hey, it's sick, they could still get hurt. They could still, you know, anything?
Yeah. It's kind of terrifying. Yeah.
You really think about it, right?
Yeah, that's why we are like, late at night googling things and panicking.
And here we are. Right.
So if there if there's like, one message that you would just like, want every one of your followers and my listeners to hear what is like that thing that's like always on your heart to like, either reassure moms or just like, What do you feel like they need to hear?
I was just thinking, like, You're doing better than you think we are, then you think you are, you know, I think it's so easy to be so hard on yourself and to question yourself, and every decision that you make, and when it all really comes down to it. I think that, you know, people are doing better than I think they are. And myself included, and you and everyone and you know, if we can just step back from, I don't want to say this close, you know, severe, not severe, but like just as intense scrutiny that we put on ourselves to be the best or to do wonderful things are to give our children everything we hope to give them that we're whatever we're doing today is probably pretty good. You know, and pretty good. It's pretty good. You know, you can't do much better. So you just do our best every day.
Yeah. That's so simple, but like, pretty profound when you really let it sink in.
Yeah. Oh, that's
okay. So that's, that's a perfect transition back to a totally jumped again, usually would ask you right off the bat, to clarify whether or not you join the Club. Have you ever felt like you were failing motherhood?
I have. Yeah, no, I think I mean, haven't we? All right, but yes, you know, and I'm pretty, I think I'm pretty easy on myself. And a lot of ways just because like I've been through stuff in my life that has, you know, reminded me to not take everything so seriously. But there's few times in my life that kind of stick out the most. And one is something which was like, ironically, completely out of my control, which is infertility, which is something I went through with my first and second child, I did IVF, I've experienced losses. And one thing I really struggled with a lot, especially with second secondary infertility is when wanting to give my child a sibling. And it just wasn't happening. And I saw it happening all around me, of course, my son was two when I was going through IVF for my second child. And of course, there's a lot of people know, like, that age to preschool time is when, like, all you see is like pregnant people. Because everyone's getting a new brother or sister. So it seems and so we kind of can, you know, convince ourselves that that's what everyone else is doing. And I feel like that was a big time in my life where I felt a lot of failure because I was super depressed. You know, I was really struggling with like depression and anxiety. I was, like, totally obsessed with, you know, making this happen. And I felt, you know, while I had that tunnel vision, I'm like, creating a human. But I also, you know, was feeling very much like I wasn't 100% present for my first child. And so I was constantly going through this kind of back and forth of, you know, of feeling like a failure, like, Oh, I'm really trying to do this because I feel like a failure that I can't give him a sibling. But I also feel like a failure because I'm, like, totally distracted and obsessed with this other thing in my life. So it was kind of this real back and forth time that I still kind of can look back on and feel that sense of like, Oh, that was like so rough, like guilt
on all sides.
Yeah, yeah, definitely.
So have you been able Got to Give Yourself compassion for that process that what does that look like now that you're on the other side?
He didn't, I think it's just, I like to remind myself that life is more than kind of those little moments. And I mean little moments like as in, they're not important. I mean, like these brief moments of time, and I try and look at life as a whole. And, you know, and try not to get that tunnel vision on like, certain spaces of my life, because I'm not going to be perfect, or, you know, my children's lives aren't going to be perfect for, you know, little blips along the way. And that's just life. So whenever I do travel, those moments of like, zeroing in and be like, oh, like, you know, that was really a rough time, I zoom out, and I just try and be like, you know, what, like, the bigger picture here is that, like, he always knew he was loved, he was always safe. And, you know, I had, as a human, I'm going to be working through stuff occasionally in life, just like, you know, my oldest child is going to be working through stuff in his life. And there's always going to be these like, ups and downs. And that was just one of our particular ups and downs, you know, and I, it's just the my constant reminder, anytime we go through rough periods, as individuals, or families or even my children is that these are, these are the expected ups and downs of life, you know, that we're going to end learning to get through them and letting our children see us work through them, whether they're two years old, or 16 years old, is there's something being modeled there about modeling resiliency and perseverance and getting yourself out of tough spots.
Yeah, which is so beautiful. It's the human experience on display.
Yeah, it is. Right. And that's all we can really do. You know, our children are humans being raised by humans, and we're never going to have a picture perfect example of how to do life because one doesn't exist. And, you know, being through with our children is part of
it. Yeah, we're growing up right alongside them.
Yeah. And I think I think we, some of us may have entered parenthood or motherhood with some type of expectation totally subconsciously, where it's like, Alright, now I've arrived. And I've reached this like, level of enlightenment, and now I'm gonna turn around and bestow it to the next generation. I'm gonna teach all these lessons. And I'm gonna, like, you know, instill all these values, and then you all of a sudden are faced with this mirror of like, oh, no, like, I'm I don't know what I'm doing it all.
It is it's a real like awakening process I had yesterday I took my I was six months old. And I took him for his six month checkup. And, you know, he like, I had changed his diaper when the nurse was like, we're getting undressed to go get him wait. And I was like, changing. I'm like, Oh, my God, I've changed his diaper. And it was this moment of thinking, like, I felt totally normal doing that in front of being on display doing that in front of the nurse, medical assistant who was ready to go take us to get weighed, even though we were like, kind of backing things up and take all his clothes off. And he was a mess and all these things. And then I had this moment where I thought and I was like, oh my god, I can only imagine having done this with my oldest child, I would have been mortified, like bright red face, like, of course I was on postpartum mental health issues as well. But like that, there's this big difference, like what a difference eight years and three kids can make of kind of allowing yourself to kind of do what you have to do and realize that not everyone's judging you and that you're just being is okay. And it was just kind of funny moment, full circle moment for me, because I felt like I probably had a similar moment with my oldest child. And it was I did not feel confident at all and just something silly, like changing a diaper and somebody else but you know, those things are, you know, little moments that I think your help us.
Yeah. And if you are that first time parent, right now, you're not doing anything wrong. Yeah.
And no one is thinks you are, you know, like, she was just waiting for me. Like, she wasn't like critiquing how I put a diaper on them or anything like that. And she wasn't doing this. This was a you know, a similar nurse wasn't doing it eight years ago, either. They're just like saying, Oh, wait, she has changed your diaper? Yeah, and but it's our own internal dialogue and our own internal insecurities that we feel, you know, that create that internal reaction that we have, right? Yeah, I'm in a place now where I can you know, my story isn't she's watching me she's, you know, I'm holding her up, like, Am I doing this? Right? My story is, you need a diaper change, like, you know, like and more focused on my baby and supposed to kind of the, the world around me. But you know, I think that's impacted by how I'm feeling as a person and my mental health at this point in my life, and kind of different experiences I've had along the way. So it's hard to change that internal dialogue, but I think the best thing we can do is to recognize that internal dialogue and say What stories? Am I telling myself about this situation?
Yeah, yeah, that's what I was just gonna, like, is there a way to speed up this process? Like, can we get to be a veteran parent? Like quicker?
Yeah, well, you know what, I think that the biggest thing I always recommend to people is being aware of those thoughts that are coming through your brain, you know, like, what story are you telling yourself about this moment, because those are going to set off those chain reactions with your body. You know, one of the like, the examples I talked about a lot in therapy is like, if I tell you to imagine a lemon, you know, think of a lemon. Imagine cutting the lemon open, like you can feel your tongue and like your saliva increasing in your mouth, just by thinking about a lemon and cutting it open and smelling it and feeling it on your hands. I can do it just talking about it right now. And so that's how powerful our brain is, is in terms of like the mind body connection, right? So when I'm feeling as a new mom, if I'm sitting there changing the diaper and being like, Am I doing this, right? She's looking at me, you know, she looks I'm, I didn't bring wipes, or I don't have an extra diaper. And I had to ask her, she probably thinks I'm like, oh, loser, you know, like, what does that do to our internal state, like, then my face starts getting red, then I start panicking. And then I start feeling really bad about myself. Where as if I can just kind of change that internal dialogue and say, like, oh, well, like, you know, I didn't have a diaper. I didn't have lives, like, that was bad. You know, oh, well, you know, and that's kind of, you know, being aware of the internal dialogue and shifting the internal dialogue, I like to shift it back to my child and what I'm doing to take care of him or her.
So more more focusing on, like narrating the situation you're in, or the environment or your child's experience, rather than your experience
into instead of my internal experience. Yeah, so getting myself out of my imagination. And the story, I'm telling me the story, I'm telling myself about this moment, and getting back into the moment and saying, Oh, look how soft your belly feels right now. And, you know, it's chilly in here, I'm going to bring a blankie with us, like, you know, really getting back into those senses. And it doesn't have to be this like intense grounding situation, it can just be like rubbing your baby's belly and saying You're so soft, or we're gonna go put you in the thing. And, you know, using this moment to get out of what it's going on in this brain area, and getting back into the moment with your baby who's always in the moment and always ready there for you to receive whatever you have going. So
because the inverse is, is actually what happens if we are so in our head, we aren't present with them. We're not connecting eye to eye, we're not nearing you, we're not able to like fully be because we're not there. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. No, that's, that's, uh, I mean, you could probably that to almost every scenario,
literally. Yeah, our whole lives, right? Yeah, everything about our lives, you know, we the stories we tell ourselves inside are so varied, and they have such an impact on our well being, and bring it back to the present moment, anytime it's going to make a huge difference.
Yeah. If you have a one to seven year old child that is often melting down, or dysregulated. You feel like they're exhibiting a lot of attention seeking behaviors. They're sensitive, perceptive, observant, smart, and therefore possibly anxious. They do well at school or for others and tend to fall apart at home. You feel like they're controlling with siblings or friends during play. It feels like you can never fill their cup. If you have a child like this, and you missed my survive your strong willed child for your free training on Sunday, find me on Instagram, send me a message that says strong willed and I will make sure that you get the replay. Because they don't need more punishment. They don't need more consequences. They need security, power reversal and leverage attention. And when you have the perspective and the insight and the tools, you can decode their personality, and transform your relationship. This is what I'm passionate about. This is exactly what I do one on one. And in the group program, we focus on improving their behavior through the tools of positive discipline, cultivating cooperation, giving them so much more capacity and filling their cup in all of these deeper ways. So that we can just eliminate the behaviors that they're using to get those needs met, while also working on your patients, and hopefully getting you on the same page as your partner. So if you're ready to be able to take advantage of that free training or have more of a conversation about what it looks like ticket support. Find me on Instagram at parent underscore hole Aarthi and send me a message that says strong melts but so is everything else, cupcakes, rainbows, butterflies and you know, perfection. Like, you know, as an influencer or what, what other parts of motherhood? Do you feel like you're failing in or have felt that way?
You know, I think one of the things so I had my first child in 2014. And, you know, being in 2014, life was different, like there was the bump was like Facebook, maybe understatement of the year felt like, life was different. And it's been an interesting experience having a baby in 2014 I baby yeah, anyone, like life just looks different. And I think one of the things when I first started getting into Instagram, like probably like, I want to say like, 2018 2017 like, that's like, I think when, you know, though, with my second child, she was born in 2017, you know, that there's this kind of shift that happened in terms of like, you know, online experts and like, people with play ideas or whatever, you know, how to feed your kids, all those things. And I would think that that kind of got in my head a little right, when I first started getting on kind of like the Instagram scene was, I was seeing all of this, like, I think recommendations, I guess, are kind of like, you know, people telling you how you should be or how you should be interacting with your kids or what things you should be doing with them. And, well, I thought they were really great aspirational ideas. Right? Like, they all seem like good ideas like colorful rice, and sensory things. And, you know, fancy bedrooms or play rooms or toys that I need to give my kids like that rainbow wooden toy, right that oh, yeah, everywhere. Yeah, I want to say in like 2017. So that was a big thing with my second child. I was like, I need this rainbow. And I was like,
Okay, it's only like, $150 Yeah,
$100 Rainbow. But luckily, we still play with this rainbow. But like, I think that rainbow was like a great example of how I was kind of being influenced by this idea of like, things my kids needed, or things I need to be or who I needed to be for my kids. And at this point, I've been working with families for years and years and years. And it still got me like, I still felt like a pretty like confident person in terms of like, who I was, and, you know, the type of person I am and who I how I move through the world and the type of parent I am and knowing these variations of normal that exists within the parenting realm, right. But I was still there thinking like, I really need this $150 You know, wooden rainbow to like, make my child's life, you know, so I think that there, that was an area I struggled with, you know, feeling like there was shoulds and starting to question who I was as a mom, like, should I be doing sensory bins? Like, should I have like, decorated their room like such? And such should I have? Should I be doing more such and such activities? Should I be buying certain things. And, you know, that got in my head and I, you know, started questioning who I was and how I was and, you know, really turning down that noise for myself was a real turning point, you know, of trying to stepping back from like, allowing all of that into me, and saying and taking it for what it was and kind of reconnecting with the type of person I am and who I want to be and who I really am with my kids. You know, I'm not, you know, it doesn't always connect Kinect, right? You know, who I am might not might look different than, you know what I'm seeing online coming at me. And that's totally fine. The things I like to do with my kids are great, you know, and they're just as wonderful experiences, even though they might look different than what I'm seeing coming through the little squares or reels or whatever on my while I scroll?
Uh huh. Oh, I'm sure everyone's found themselves there at some point on some platform, like, whether it's Pinterest, whether that's YouTube, we've all had kind of a reckoning moment of like, a write all of this is telling me that I should be over here doing all these things. And what do I do with that information? Yeah, like, what do I take from it as value? What do I leave? What do I buy? Or do I not buy? And so like, what, what is your recommendation for, let's say, a mom, with a two year old that's just kind of like getting into this whole world and is very overwhelmed.
I think to take stock of how you're feeling in terms of like social media. I think taking stock of how it's actually impacting you is like the biggest thing so I always recommend like doing a check in like, what's motivating you to like tap the icon to get on to the app right? And kind of sit with that for a second. See it check in with yourself as you scroll and and check in with yourself when you log off or you know, exit the app, whatever, you know, and really takes off, like, how has that impacted you? How is this session? Like? What have you gotten from that? Have you been lifted up? Do you feel wonderful? Do you feel like you know, you can take on the world? Or did you have a chance to laugh about, you know, some funny animal video or whatever? Or did you leave feeling like you, you know, with some shoulds in your mind, I shouldn't be different, I should be better. My kids should be better, they should be different. My relationships should be different, we should be doing things differently as a couple, you know, if you're coming off with all of those, like shoulds and feeling like you are just doing a terrible job, or you are just who you are is not good enough. You really need to like I think sit with that and say like, who am I following? And where am I getting this messaging? And why am I coming away with this kind of feeling? And really taking stock of who you're following? Where are these messages are coming from and how helpful your you know, feed actually is to you, you know, and taking some stock there.
Yeah, such good advice, because I think it ebbs and flows, because you can feel like you're in a really good headspace. And then all of a sudden, whether that's external situation, stress at home, following someone new, whatever it is, then it just kind of can like, you know, hip check you over into total insecure lane. And all of a sudden, you're questioning all of your life decisions again.
Yeah, exactly. And I think just having that like internal awareness as you are, and sitting with it, and saying, you know, muting accounts or unfollowing accounts as you need to. And this is something I do all the time. You know, I spend time online and being able to look back and say, you know, last year I was going through this time last year, I was going through a very difficult pregnancy and seeing like happy pregnant people, I couldn't handle it. And that's me as like a therapist, and I should, I should be able to kind of like deal with that or, and kind of, like sort it all out. But I couldn't in that time. I really need to kind of unfollow like, certainly counselors, like newborns, I needed to follow, you know, accounts of like happy pregnant people or cuprite maternity outfits as I was like, you know, raging sick 24 hours a day, you know, and because it just wasn't good for my you know, headspace at that time. Yeah. And I can go through and like, kind of unmute people or take them back. And now a year later, but I think just giving yourself the grace and the permission to say, I can do this for now, if I need it.
Yeah, that just adding that temporary for now, or even today, or even right now. Like, one day at a time, one hour at a time. Yeah, that means okay, you have that permission.
Yeah, exactly. So, yeah. So refreshing.
And to know that, like, you know, even even influencers, people who are on the app, I'm sure, a lot struggle with that, I'm sure is, is maybe even surprising to hear. Because you think that, yeah, you just have it all locked down.
Yeah, exactly. Right. You know, I think that there's a misconception that people are not humans. Sometimes, you know, and I think we hear that a lot in terms of like, you know, messages that people get, and like people talk commenting on people's like, influencers, children, or things like that. Oh, yeah, they are actually people on the other side, you know, and who are humans, just like parents are humans? And people struggle with all sorts of things, you know, yeah, learning how to get through life. We're all doing it for the first time. Right? So hey, especially living a life on an app or on, you know, in such a formal or visible way, I
should say, right, right. Public Platform like that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I and I know you have created some resources now about, like screen awareness and being able to work on those habits. So can you talk a little bit more about some of those resources or things that you're doing now yourself with that?
Yeah. So I last year around probably around this time, I had kind of like this awakening in terms of how I want to have my relationship be with my phone, and I was doing something on my phone. I think I was ready, like posting a caption or something wasn't working on like Instagram, like, it was so important. And my son was asking me a question. I was like, not right now like you like have to, they lost my patience with him or whatever. And he looked at me, he was seven years old, I think, at the time, and he goes, he's like, Instagram is not important. I'm important. And I was like, you are correct. You know, like, it was this moment where I could have like, shouted back at him something like this is important. This is my like job, so I make money. But he was correct. And I allowed that moment and I said, You're right. And I put it down. I walked away and I like didn't touch it. And from that point forward, I was like, I need to make a change if I'm going to lose my patience and if my seven year All can sit here and tell me like Instagrams not important. And I know that is true. So I was like, I need to make some changes. And, you know, a big part of my background is working in the field of addiction I spent a long time working in, like substance use disorders and detoxes, in residential facilities and inpatient facilities. And so I took a lot of like, what I knew from that addiction side of my learning, and I kind of set myself off on a path and I was like, I'm going to get down my screen time, I'm not going to sacrifice hours of my day anymore to being online, it's just not that important to me at this point in time, and I need to make some changes. So I can be more present in my life with my kids and from my own mental health, that I'm not going to be yelling at anyone when they interrupt my Instagram time, which, you know, seems so ridiculous, right? So I developed a, you know, a path for myself forward, you know, I use this kind of what I knew about addiction, where I knew about screens, what I knew about all sorts of stuff. And I brought my, I think I brought it down to like 76 77%, less screen time than it had been previously. Just been doing kind of some simple, like, just little habit changes how I organize my phone, how I something called planned leisure. So how I spend my free time so that every time I had free time, I wasn't just like picking up my phone and scrolling Instagram or, you know, Facebook for nothing, I wasn't doing anything on there, you know. So I really just developed some kind of simple habits, simple tricks, and just a new way of approaching how I use my phone. And it made a huge difference. And since that time I've done I want to say like four or five rotations of the challenge, and I'm about to actually open it up again, probably in the next few weeks. And do like a pre summer one, I'm trying to try to do like four or five times a year at this point, just to get people kind of, you know, thinking about it, and making some steps to have a healthier relationship with their phone. And not everyone's gonna want to do that. But the messaging I've gotten back from 1000s of people have gone through the challenge is that people want to have a different relationship with their phone and feeling more present in their lives and are noticing kind of the impact that it might be having on them and their mental health and well being in their relationships with their family.
Yeah, oh, I definitely am. On board, especially with the summer is a great transition for some of that, you know, habit change, because you get to be around more, or there's just more things that you can do. Or, you know, you're starting again, to be more social, at least outdoors, with the pandemic. So being able to have more structure to set you up for that help, like the best intentions still. Don't get you to where you want to be. Yeah, I
think sometimes you just need a plan, you know, because it's so easy to be like, I want to use my phone last but like what does that mean? You know, like, you know, and so what the challenge is, is a 14 day you like kind of roadmap to getting people to where they want to be kind of changing your mindset and becoming more aware of the tricks that are put onto us from kind of marketing companies and like the influencing world to keep us on our phone. And having a little bit of self awareness around that kind of looking behind the curtain I think can kind of help us make those changes.
Yeah. So good. So this will come out June 7. So will you have a challenge?
Yeah, it's going to be still be open that and so I think I'm opening it. I can't remember the exact date, but it's on my calendar. So I'll put it in the show notes. Yeah, definitely. Oh, yeah. No, I'll send you the link and everything. So it will be opening up.
Okay, perfect, perfect timing then. Yeah, so if that's if that's you, and you're you're ready to just get a little bit more support in that area to help set you up for success. This summary then will definitely connect you with with your resource so other than other than following you on Instagram, this is a definitely need to do any other ways to connect with you or your resources. Okay, so
I am on Instagram of course and I run my over the influence challenges with my phone challenge and I have some other challenges in the works that will be kind of releasing quarterly throughout the year. And I also have an Etsy store I'm feel really passionate about people having mental health resources that they can use in everyday life. You know, I think there's so many resources out there and Instagram that are courses that are hundreds and hundreds of dollars. And you know, I like the idea of getting back to like what I'm passionate about, which is what is using these resources that we have and including our mental health awareness and skills into everyday life. So I make like flashcards. I make worksheets and things for therapists but also for parents to use as self help. So that is another area where you can connect with me at And I also post on Facebook occasionally bits, the same stuff that's on Instagram. So those are the places where I hang out. And
that's it. Nice. Yeah. So, so needed. So, so helpful. I'll make sure to have all those links in the show notes. So listeners can go and download everything. So the question I ask every guest to wrap up, is, how are you the mom that your kids need? Oh,
good question. I think, you know, I like to view it as Lana. We're all learning lessons from each other. And I'm here to learn lessons from them. And they're here to learn lessons for me within my imperfections and skills. And so I think that we might truly believe that we're all made for each other, we were all put together for a reason. And that I think helps me get through it all like that. We're all here to go through the ups and downs of one shared life together. And I'm exactly who they need, and they're exactly who I need. So that's what I like to remind myself, and I like to remind the parents I work with that too.
Yeah. Even even your tagalong third,
yes. Ours, we call them. My son, my six month old was like, you know, unexpected surprise. And we called my kids called him the mystery guest for my whole pregnancy or as long as they knew about my pregnancy, but he is He is just like, the most magical person we are. We literally all sit around talking about how much we like love him, and how amazing he is like, this kid's probably gonna like step into the world and be like, where's everybody telling me how much they last me? All right, I cute. Like, he's like, probably never experienced any sort of like, you know, non pleasant interaction in life. So we joke about it all the time. But he is just like, the most amazing thing. And my two older kids have been so good at welcoming him into our family in the world, and taking such great care of him alongside of his parents. And yeah, no, we just love him. He's the greatest thing ever. I think he's just the greatest. So after a year of or an entire pregnancy of like illness and like, dread and fear. And I was able to, you know, the second I met him, I'm like, Oh, I like you. You're wonderful. I'm glad you're here. Nice to meet you. Great.
That's so good. I'm so glad. So he'll definitely fill out all of like, the stereotypical check marks of like the sibling order of the family.
Oh, yeah. No, he was like the total baby of the family, at least for now. We just think he's like, he's just his absolute beloved human like, has barely been put down his whole life. lives within the chaos of his two older siblings. That's not a bad thing. Yeah, no, I think we've learned great things. It's life's a party. So everywhere. It goes, schooling classes, you know, all sorts of fun stuff.
Yeah. So fun. Well, I'll let you get back to him. And thank you so much for taking the time and just for being able to share the wisdom that you've gained from all the things that moms have shared with you, but also your resources, and just being able to share your story. That's so appreciated.
Oh, thank you so much for having me. It was a great, great talk, I really enjoyed it.
Of course. That was a fun conversation, if you like we jumped around, but like gotten to all the important things. And she just casually dropped so much wisdom of some, I love doing this. This is so much fun. So if you stay to the end, be sure to go follow at mom dot brain, that therapist on Instagram if you're there. And then also reduce your screen time with some of her resources and her challenge coming up under the influence. But it's so brilliant to just be able to support yourself with more of those resources, if that's something that you're really wanting to do. So take a screenshot of your phone right now. Share that on your Instagram stories and let your friends know that this episode is here and out there and that you're finding value from the podcast. And if this is more than the first episode, you're listened to go ahead and leave a review on Apple podcasts be so appreciated, and allows other moms to find that. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you and I'm cheering you on
Learn how to confidently parent your strong-willed child without threats or bribes so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt
Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!