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South Bay Mommy and Me
South Bay Mommy and Me

💁🏻‍♀ LMFT for moms raising littles 💜 parenting, motherhood, & child development support 👚‍👩‍👊‍👊 Mommy & Me classes 💻 E-course ↓ Enroll here!

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If this isn’t the 100% honest truth! ⠀ It’s exhausting 😩 and I am feeling it all today. Illustration by @violetclair for @freeform #girlgaze⠀

I am an American 🇺🇞 I have been told that I live in the greatest county on earth, where there is no limit to my potential and opportunities...unless I need to seek safe access for an abortion. Criminalizing abortion and ignoring science is Trump’s America. We cannot go back. We will not go back. #womensrightsarehumanrights #mybodymychoice • • • • • #keepabortionlegal #plannedparenthood #prochoice #abortion #alabamaabortionban #heartbeatbill #aclu #roevwade #abortionrights #feminist #feminism #girlmom #girlmomlife #motherhoodunplugged

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💜Nearly every parent I know feels like their child's behaviors are a direct reflection of their parenting. I'd like to offer a reframe: 𝘆𝗌𝘂𝗿 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱'𝘀 𝗯𝗲𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗌𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮 𝗱𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗌𝗻 𝗌𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗱𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗜𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗌𝗻 𝗌𝗳 𝘆𝗌𝘂𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗌𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗜. When we become a parent, we commit to a lifetime of being in relationship with another person. Parenting isn't 𝘥𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘚, it's 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉🏌When your child is a hot mess, avoid the guilt that tricks you into believing you're responsible. The same is true when your child is a total rock star and killing that sharing game: try to avoid taking too much responsibility for this. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹We can absolutely own the influence we have over our children. But when we do this, own both the positive and not-so-positive parts. This keeps us grounded in our humanity, which is a necessary part to parenting good-enough. For example, I'm loud and funny, and I like to see my son adopt those qualities for himself. I also have OCD-tendencies and battle with perfection, and I am absolutely already seeing my son play with these qualities. I don't take responsibility, but I recognize that he's always observing and trying on many different ways to live his life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✅In my classes, I lead moms weekly through child observation exercises where we simply watch our babies and connect with their thoughts, feelings, and needs. This is a great way to discover your child's core and begin to see them as the separate, individual, and wonderful beings that they are. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👇🏜What comes up for you with this topic? Do you find yourself taking certain things personally? What's there for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.💜

💜I get this question all the time: if I yell at my child, will we recover? If I let my child cry, will our relationship be permanently damaged? If I completely lose it and walk away, will my child always remember?⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌YES, you will recover. NO, your relationship is not permanently damaged. And MAYBE, your child might remember. BUT, what's important for you all to know: 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝘂𝗜𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗻𝗌𝘁 𝗮𝘀 𝗱𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗎𝗶𝗻𝗎 𝗮𝘀 𝘆𝗌𝘂 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗞 𝗶𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝗰𝗌𝗺𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗮𝗻 𝗌𝗜𝗜𝗌𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗳𝗌𝗿 𝗿𝗲𝗜𝗮𝗶𝗿. It's repeated ruptures with no repair that cause our children insecurity and to feel emotionally unsafe. ⁣ ⁣ 💯If you're reading this on instagram, it's probably because you're a good enough mom and you deeply care about your relationship with your child. So you are already killing the mom game. ⁣ ⁣ ✹Children are pre-wired to know that their parents aren't perfect, and they are totally okay with it. They know you are not going to know exactly what to say and how to say it every single time. Let that GO! What your child wants is an opportunity to repair. It's the REPAIR that actually wires their brain for safety, connection, and protection. It's the repair that teaches our children that even when the world is harsh, they feel resilient and safe enough to carry onward.⁣ ⁣ ✅Please come to class if you're local so you can feel on the right track with your relationship with your baby. Or, join me online for my Raising Children You Like e-course with⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Thoughts on this topic? How do you repair ruptures with your child? We talk about them, create stories about them, and get lots of kisses and snuggles. I always remind him that mommy is learning, too.💜

🀩𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗊 𝗝𝗚𝗊𝗧 𝗜𝗡! Today is the day that we launch our new e-parenting course, Raising Children You Like! And we just received this glowing review. I am SO THRILLED to be able to offer specialized guidance for you with your littles. Parenting toddlers is tough, but we don't need to drown in it all. ⁣ ⁣ 𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝗷𝗌𝗶𝗻 𝘂𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗞 𝗳𝗌𝗿 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗹𝘂𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗜𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗲. $27 gets you the Toddler Tantrum Toolkit, which goes into great detail everything you ever needed to know about your toddler's emotions and how to respond. You'll learn about brain development, why old methods fail, and how to prevent tantrums from happening. Plus you'll get access to some amazing bonuses, like one-liners to diffuse tantrums, playground rebuttals, live trainings, a 30-day private facebook support group, and tips to promote your child's self-esteem.⁣ ⁣ I'm so passionate about supporting moms and young children. It's truly my honor to be able to offer this incredible e-course. ⁣ ⁣ ✅✅Link in bio! Cart closes Friday!⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Questions? Please let us support you!

💜This comes straight from the Mindful Parenting source - Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn and their terrific read, "Everyday Blessings." Mindfulness is more than just a hot topic in parenting. Mindfulness is an essential tool that helps regulate depression, anxiety, anger, resentment, and everything in between.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Prior to motherhood, my mindfulness practice looked different. I had hours upon hours to write, read, reflect, enjoy the sunset by myself, go on long drives. Now it's easy to see mindfulness as a luxury rather than an essential need for grounding and balance.⁣ ⁣ ✹Try these 4 steps when you're regulated - this helps get them into your body for those times when you're dysregulated. While you're playing, observe your child and observe the inner workings of your mind. Notice, don't judge, whatever is in front of you and whatever is coming up for you. 𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐲𝐚𝐮 𝐝𝐚 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬, 𝐲𝐚𝐮'𝐫𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐟𝐚𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐚𝐟 𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐞𝐩𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐚𝐟 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝒊𝒔, not what you imagine should be, or what you're afraid shouldn't be. From this place we can respond to our children in a way that is aligned with the actual present moment.⁣ ⁣ ✅Mindfulness is a practice, like yoga. Make a conscious choice to set aside 5 minutes a day to cultivate this mindful mind, and you will find these steps to flow more gracefully and naturally within you. Come to group or join me online, and you will be supported in this process.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Do you have a mindfulness practice that helps you feel grounded and regulated? Please share so we can all learn from each other.💜

💜We all want children who are self-aware, thoughtful, caring, loving, compassionate, self-disciplined, and connected to others. Research has shown this over and over again. So what's getting in our way? ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Well... we are. In this helicopter-parent-era, we are weakening our child's sense of grit, competence, and capability by hovering over every little milestone, every fall, every mistake, every meltdown. At the same time, we're neglecting ourselves in the process, and our children feel this imbalance.⁣ ⁣ ✹When you prioritize your needs (beyond bubble baths and mani/pedis) - I'm talking like time away, doctor's appointments, exercise, date nights, reading a great book - you are more regulated. Parents who are more regulated do not get into their child's way. Regulation and raising capable children have a direct relationship: the more regulated you are as a parent, the more opportunities for discovering self-competence your child will have. ⁣ ⁣ ✹Also, the more regulated you are, the more confident you will feel, which increases your child's confidence. The return on this personal investment in terms of your child's self-esteem is too high to ignore.⁣ ⁣ ✅My only hope with all of these posts is to inspire you to live out your parenting journey as authentically and truthfully as you can, so that you can teach your children to do the same one day when they become parents. If this resonates, come to class or check out my online parenting course 𝘙𝘢𝘪𝘎𝘪𝘯𝘚 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘳𝘊𝘯 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘓𝘪𝘬𝘊.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What do you do to truly take care of yourself? My current self-care includes pole dancing and date nights (sometimes at the same time😉). Drop your self-care emoji below! 👯‍♀

💜Parents, our intentions are always benevolent. When we tell our children they're okay while they're crying, it's because in our minds we know that they will be okay, that this minor moment won't mean much in the long run. We want to reassure them that they will be okay even. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌However, our children hear none of this in the moment. What they experience is a parent who doesn't care about their emotions and a parent who isn't invested in helping them figure out what is going on. The need to feel emotionally safe and validated is very real for our children, and telling them that they're okay when they clearly are not okay does not do much good.⁣ ⁣ ✹This is a jagged pill to swallow for some, but if you begin to adapt the above shifts, you will likely experience some positive changes in your relationship with your child. Your child will regulate quicker. You will feel more confident in your ability to actually help your child through something difficult. You will both feel better together.⁣ ⁣ ✹Remember, it's not our job to judge their experience; it's our job to help lead them through it. As my girl @brenebrown says, "I can't take away the pain for you, but I can help you learn how to be with the pain."⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What do you say instead of, "You're okay"? I'd love to learn more ideas from all of you!💜

💜Most of us find ourselves acing one side of the equation. For example, a mom with endless warmth who cannot hold limits, and subsequently feels walked all over by her children. A father with high expectations for his son who also responds to his son’s emotions with anger.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Research in infant and early childhood mental health shows that parenting styles high on warmth, sensitivity, and expectations (i.e.: demands that we put on our children to integrate them into the family and society) are linked to raising more capable, conscious, and confident children. This is why teaching and encouraging collaboration with our children in a warm, emotional environment actually helps our children learn more about self-control, impulse-control, emotional regulation, and social skills than when we use rewards and punishments.⁣ ⁣ ✹So if this is the gold standard, how do we find the balance? Determine your house rules, and help guide your child to follow these rules in a developmentally appropriate way. Validate your child's emotions while setting limits on inappropriate behaviors. Communicate in a respectful tone and respond as consistently and predictably as you can. Think of these things as a daily practice that allows for lots of room for error.⁣ ⁣ ✅If you're following along and you have a child 5 and under, come to class or sign up for the e-course.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you find yourself strong on one side of the equation but struggling with the other?

💜There are many different ways to parent our children. For many of us (statistically speaking), we parent from an unconscious place, where we regrettably behave in the same hurtful ways our parent's behaved toward us. Or, we swing in the polar opposite direction from how we were raised, and then find ourselves feeling at a loss when it comes to raising tiny humans. The truth is, there is a style of parenting that research has shown leads to the most favorable child outcomes. That style is Authoritative.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Think of the Authoritative Parent like Mary Poppins. She insists that you take your medicine, and then offers the spoonful of sugar to help it go down smoothly. She is firm with her expectations but flexible in how she approaches them. She is warm, responsive, and nurturing, but not overindulgent. She is strict but not controlling. She respects her children's input, but ultimately gets the final say as the parent. ⁣ ⁣ ✹The first step toward parenting in the Authoritative way is acknowledging what type of upbringing we had and how we felt about it. Then, we can assess how we are behaving in relationship with our children: am I most like Mary Poppins, Tiger Mom, or Anxious Mom? From this place we can begin to make the shifts necessary to parent from a place that we truly desire.⁣ ⁣ ✅Come to group if you're local to work on this. Seriously mamas. It doesn't happen over night and is most likely to happen if you connect with other mothers who are also parenting this way. If not, sign up for my e-course ⁣ (currently accepting waitlist enrollment).⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Does this resonate with you? I'd love to hear about what parenting environment you came from and how you're raising your kiddos.💜

💜Dr. Bruce Perry is one of the primary researchers in the field of infant and early childhood mental health. He emphasizes the importance of parental regulation as a key component to a child’s overall sense of regulation. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Imagine back to being a young child and your parent was angry with you about something you did or didn’t do. Do you remember the pit in your stomach, the fear you felt? Her anger only further dysregulated you. It did not calm you. It did not comfort you. It wasn’t until he found a way to get himself calm that he was able to reassure you. ⁣ ⁣ 😞Some of us were not blessed with a parent who knew how to regulate effectively. Some of us experienced trauma bonding, where a parent’s anger & aggression is acted out in some harmful manner (physical, emotional, psychological abuse is most common). Then, you're blamed for the parent’s behavior, and told that if you only behaved better, you wouldn’t provoke this from the parent. Young children worry that they will lose their parents’ love. They would do anything to ensure that their parent continues to love them. So it becomes the child’s need to help regulate the parent, not the other way around. ⁣ ⁣ 💯This cycle gets repeated in family systems, and becomes a learned way of interacting. It's not healthy, it's inappropriate, and it doesn't lead to positive outcomes.⁣ ⁣ ✹Thankfully we do not need to live out these same patterns. We can address our baggage, find forgiveness, learn to self-regulate, and move forward with our lives. We have the opportunity to heal our own childhood by the way we parent our children.⁣ ⁣ ✅If this resonates, come to class or join me in my e-course, where all of these issues (and more) are addressed. Link in bio.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜If this resonates, leave a 💜 or share your personal story. Anything is tolerable when we know we are not alone.

💜I can't stress enough the role of self-awareness in raising happy, healthy, confident, and capable children. The concept of self-awareness is fairly simple. But the act of accessing it is tough. It's tough because we're exhausted, weighed down by the mental load of motherhood, and constantly questioning whether or not we're doing this motherhood thing good enough.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌And so, I've outlined some fairly simple daily tasks for you to do to achieve a richer sense of self-awareness: ⁣ ⁣ ✹Honesty is key: don't lie to yourself about ways that your child triggers you. It's OKAY and NORMAL that your child triggers you. You wouldn't be HUMAN if your child didn't trigger you.⁣ ⁣ ✹Notice how others' emotions impact you emotionally. Ask yourself: is this about me or is it about them? Chances are, it's mainly about you.⁣ ⁣ ✹Notice how you impact others emotionally. Ask yourself the same question as above. Chances are, it's mainly about them. ⁣ ⁣ ✹Can we be more present to each other and to ourselves emotionally? If not for our own sake, but for the sake of our children?⁣ ⁣ ✹Finally, I'm encouraging you to reflect! Self-awareness requires the willingness to self-reflect. How did my child impact my emotions today? What did I say or do that had an impact on my partner? ⁣ ⁣ ✅Come to group and learn more about reflective parenting; or sign up for the e-course waitlist, where topics like this are covered in depth.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Can you commit to self-reflection today? Drop a 🙋🏻‍♀ and let's check in tomorrow about what shifts we noticed.💜

💜I don't have anything fancy or inspirational to say, because, let’s be real, motherhood is often messy and always unpredictable. So instead, enjoy a candid photo of joy and magic from one of our Mommy and Me classes. Puppets can make any day feel lighter and more playful. We forget how to play as adults. Play keeps us young. Keep playing, mamas.⁣ ⁣ ✅If you're local to the South Bay, and you have a child birth-24 months, we'd love to have you in class. Our program is led by licensed psychotherapists and specialists in child development, infant mental health, and maternal mental health. Our curriculum is timed for your child's development, and our approach to raising children is mindful, aware, and fun. ⁣ ⁣ 👆🏌If you're on the fence, check out our highlights tab "Class Pictures" for what our classes look like.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜If you're already in a group (or are a graduate from SBMM), share below how this experience helped you in new motherhood. This may support a new mama who is still deciding if mommy & me is right for her.💜⁣ ⁣ 📞cred: @schreibermedia

💜These outcomes are in reference to the parenting styles discussed in Monday's post. Many people raised in Authoritarian homes will say, "I was hit and I don't have any problems!" On the other end, people believe that the entitled child acts like a brat because her parents had no boundaries or limits. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌The truth is, children are not to blame for these outcomes. Parents are also not to blame for these outcomes. While I do believe self-reflection is a lesser-known parent responsibility, not all parents have access to this kind of education and support. So instead, what we have is a multigenerational problem that continues to impact generation after generation. ⁣ ⁣ 💯This can stop with you. Let that sink in. Research around parenting psychology has determined that children from various parenting experiences behave in predictable patterns. ⁣ ⁣ ✹If you're ruling with an iron fist, is there a way you can be a little more flexible today? Can you let your child be in control of their actions, and help them learn to take responsibility? ⁣ ⁣ ✹If you're fearing setting limits or boundaries (for whatever reason), perhaps shifting your mindset will be helpful. Limits are really just guard rails on a bridge. We all cross a bridge with more confidence if we know there is something to either side that will catch us.⁣ ⁣ ✹If you're parenting like Mary Poppins, what kind of self-care are you needing in this very moment to give you the stamina to keep moving in this direction?⁣ ⁣ ✅You can make these shifts. Come to group if you're local. I will support you. If you're not local, sign up for the e-course waitlist. ⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What parenting mindset shift would you like to make today to give your child a better future? Drop your ideas below so we can all learn from each other.💜

💜It's obvious that children benefit from having regulated parents. We all remember how unsettling it felt to disappoint our parents or the fear of them getting mad at us. Some of us may have experienced our parent's pride as pressure to perform to a particular standard. We remember how anxiety-provoking this was for us. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌In our adulthood, we also recognize that these experiences were not a right of passage, but rather a reflection of our parents' poor self-care, limited self-regulation skills, and lack of reflective functioning. It's not their fault: very few communities were having these discussions in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. There was practically no emotional support for parents at this time. Mental health was stigmatized, and family matters were to be kept secret, which only perpetuated dysfunctional patterns of relating. ⁣ ⁣ 💯We also know that we do not need to continue these patterns of relating. We can find new, healthier ways to be in relationship with our children.⁣ ⁣ ✹Mamas, it starts with our willingness to regulate and reflect. I want to encourage you to practice feeling your feet on the floor, your bottom on the chair, and your breath in your belly. Do it right now. It takes 30 seconds. When you do this, I want you to notice what comes up for you. It doesn't need to be anything spectacular or quote-worthy, just something honest and true to you. Don't judge it. Just acknowledge whatever it is. ⁣ ⁣ ✅You are a gift for your child, just the way you are. Keep showing up for yourself mama, and this will allow you to show up for your child. ⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Cheers to good enough parenting.💜

💜Why am I always talking about Self-Care when I'm supposed to be talking about parenting and child development? It's because parental self-care is what leads to healthier parenting, and healthier parenting leads to more favorable child outcomes. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌As the map indicates, the deeper you get into self-care, the easier it is for you to access self-regulation. In this more regulated mindset, you begin to build self-awareness, which leads to emotional healing of your past and present. This emotional healing helps you parent from a more mindful place, which ultimately helps you re-parent the wounds that were often unseen but deeply painful as a child. ⁣ ⁣ ✹Think of your self-care journey as one that will have many dead ends, twists, and bends. You'll come to a fork in the road occasionally, and you'll have to make a Sophie's Choice. But it's worth it to go there. If you can't see the value for yourself, know how incredibly valuable it is for your children. Your self-care can actually free them from carrying the emotional burdens of previous generations, which is sadly too common.⁣ ⁣ ✅How to self-care when you're busy and tired: breathe, have a gratitude practice, eat in predictable patterns, commit to a bedtime routine, get in nature, do something creative, dance/sing, go to therapy, find a group of like-minded people to converse and engage with. ⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What has your self-care journey revealed to you? Would love to hear your reflections.💜

💜I can't stop talking about how toxic the combination of perfectionism and motherhood is. I'm constantly browsing IG for inspiration, and I'm floored by how much I encounter this idea that perfect parenting leads to perfect children. It does not. It cannot. In fact, DW Winnicott, the man who coined the term 'the good enough mother', found in his research that children actually need IMPERFECT parents so that they can learn how to operate in an IMPERFECT world.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌How we behave is what our children expect from the world. If we behave in an authentic, honest way, our children will learn to appreciate their own failures as an authentic way to live, learn, and grow. ⁣ ⁣ ✹I do not believe parenting is one-size fits all. I love the fact that we get to parent in ways that suits our unique cultures, individual values, and collective social values. HOWEVER, Americans (consciously or unconsciously) value the perfect facade. We drool over women leaving the birthing room with full face and hair. We are enamored by mothers who are full-time CEOs and at every single one of their child's preschool meetings. We believe that a mother should be able to do it all with a smile. ⁣ ⁣ ✅And to that, I say 'hell no' and 'that ain't necessary' in the thickest Pittsburgh accent this Pittsburgh native can muster.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Raise your hand if you are perfectly IMperfect 🙋🏻‍♀. The willingness to be imperfect is the gift that keeps on giving.

💜Screen time doesn't have to be such a scary topic. But it comes up a lot, so I like to address it honestly, compassionately, and supportively.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌The facts: screens can have detrimental impacts on a child's development when used inappropriately. Screens overstimulate the visual and auditory receptors in the brain, and under-stimulate the other 5 critical senses (proprioception, vestibular, tactile, taste, olfactory). Screens hyper-stimulate the reward centers in the brain, which can increase addictive behaviors. Research shows they can reduce attention-regulation skills. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Research also shows educational programming can teach essential social and emotional skills. So tech and your child ain't all that bad.⁣ ⁣ ✹Because screens ARE a fact of life in this modern age society, let’s talk about ways to make it safe, educational, and healthy for our kiddos! Co-viewing is backed by research and helps avoid the detrimental effects. Get up and dance to the music. Choose shows like Mr. Rogers, Curious George, and Daniel Tiger. Content should be slow. Avoid violence and censor whatever you need to. Avoid devices to distract and soothe. Instead, model how to manage frustrations and help your kid find other ways to soothe when appropriate.⠀⠀ ⁣ ⁣ ✅There is totally a way to be mindful in our tech world. I go into depth both in class and in my parenting e-course. Link in bio for information for both.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜How do you do screen time with your little? I'd love to hear what's working for your family!⁣ ⁣ #vestibular #screentime #childdevelopment #proprioception #consciousparenting #mindfulmama #teammotherly #parentingtips #parenting101 #parentingadvice #mamasofinstagram #attachmentparenting #healthychildren #southbaymoms #socalmoms #southbaymommyandme #redondobeach #beachcities #HermosaBeach

💜Prior to becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and an Infant-Family Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist (IFECMHS), I worked as a Behavioral Therapist with children who had Autism. My supervisor informed me on my first day that there are 4 functions to human behavior: sensory, escape, accessing attention, and accessing tangibles.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Even as a brand new therapist with absolutely no experience working clinically, I knew there was something inhumane about this. There has to be more to humanity that sensory needs, needing to get away, gaining attention, and getting stuff. For this reason, I no longer feel behavioral therapy is an ethical form of treatment, because it sees a child's need for connection as trivial, one that can be trained and manipulated away through behavioral strategies. ⁣ ⁣ ✹Nearly 10 years later, I can say with certainty: the fundamental need for all human beings is connection. We crave safe, predictable, reliable interactions with fellow human beings. This is the underlying definition of Attachment, and is an essential pillar of human mental health. ⁣ ⁣ ✅Our children are in such an impressionable stage, and we have the influence to shape how they view relationships if we respond to their behaviors with connection first. Validate their emotions. Acknowledge their experiences. Get down to their level and connect with them. They will regulate, and any correction you need to offer will happen naturally and intuitively from this connected place.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜I'd love to hear how this shift in thinking resonates with you. Share below!

💜If you're a mom and you don't yell, then this post isn't for you. But if you do find yourself yelling, know that you're in great company. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Why do moms yell? Is it because children don't listen? Not really - our children deeply desire to be cooperative, they just don't have the regulation skills to be able to be cooperative all the time.⁣ ⁣ ✹We yell because we're exhausted, overwhelmed by all of our responsibilities, trying to do it all, expecting perfection out of everything we do. We yell because we likely had poor emotional regulation models for parents. We yell because we have a trauma history we haven't quite yet discovered. We yell because we feel disconnected from others, and yelling is the only way we will actually be heard.⁣ ⁣ ✹Yelling is one answer to all of these problems. But there are other answers. More productive ones. More helpful ones. Ones that let you rest your head on your pillow and really feel like you've done a pretty damn good job today.⁣ ⁣ ✅If you're yelling, our groups will help. Sign up for the e-course waitlist if you're not local.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Are you a yeller? Drop a 🙋🏻‍♀ for solidarity and share what you will do today to try to yell a little less.💜

💜If you had a challenging childhood, chances are you're wondering what negative patterns you may pass on to your child. We call this our 𝘎𝘩𝘰𝘎𝘵𝘎 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘊 𝘕𝘶𝘳𝘎𝘊𝘳𝘺, because they hide in the comfort of our unconscious memories and pop out to haunt us at the most unexpected of times.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌The great news is, we don't have to let these ghosts haunt us. We have the ability to overcome them by increasing our reflective functioning.⁣ ⁣ ✚𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗹𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗌𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗎? Reflective functioning is the ability to make meaning of our past experiences and how they influence this present moment. It is the ability to understand our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as expressions of our unmet needs. All of this translates into an important parenting skill: the ability to see your child's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as reflections of his unmet needs. When you start seeing your child's need, you automatically have more compassion for her experience, which strengthens your relationship.⁣ ⁣ ✹Research has shown that when parents work to increase their reflective functioning, their child have a healthier, more secure attachment. ⁣ ⁣ ✅Come to group or sign up for the e-course to learn more!⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Thoughts on this topic?💜

💜Motherhood is a deeply complicated, absolutely incredible, completely worth it experience that will shake up every belief system you possess. In my motherhood journey so far, I have been strengthened in areas where I was fragile and challenged in areas where I felt strong. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌I didn't know how little sleep I could function on. I didn't know how my drive to be perfect would relax. I didn't know how my sweet love could make me completely infuriated in one moment and totally fine the next. All I knew was the moment that tiny baby came flying out my vag, I needed to buckle up and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.⁣ ⁣ ✅I love sharing in others' motherhood experiences. Come to class or sign up for the e-course.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜Would you add any words to this list? Let me know in the comments!💜

💜I had an absolute blast talking about the secrets to Mindful Mothering with @_happyasamother. This is a very personal episode for me, and I hope that my sharing inspires you to do the hard work required for raising children. That deep soul work that is painful at times but ultimately leads to freedom and joy. In this episode, we go there. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✅Link to listen is in the bio. Listen wherever you typically listen to podcasts. If you love it, please share it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👇🏜I’d love to hear your thoughts after you take a listen. Thanks for your love and support.💜

💜We have turned infant care into a monumental, beyond exhausting task with all the advice and 'support' available. Here's my most trusted rule of thumb: take what serves you, and discard the rest into the trash where it belongs. This includes everything I may say.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌Look, the baby phase is demanding, don't get me wrong. But it's fairly simple. Feed, sleep, burp, bathe, change, read, talk, sing, play, laugh. If you're doing those things regularly, you're freaking amazing and killing it raising babies. Seriously girl, get it!⁣ ⁣ ✹There is no need to complicate it with schedules. If schedules work for your baby - FAB. But if I know babies (and I really do, I promise) most thrive on flexibility. Also, I give you permission to nurse your sweet baby to sleep if that's what works for you. They will eventually sleep on their own, I promise, and they will eventually sleep through the night. Just maybe not at 12 weeks like some preposterous books propose. Put that shame and guilt for doing what feels natural directly into the garbage and set it on fire. That kind of stress is not needed! ⁣ ⁣ ✹Can we trust that being present for our baby's in-the-moment needs is enough? ⁣ ⁣ ✅To learn more, please come to group. We have a variety of class options for infants and toddlers.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜How do you simplify the baby phase? Any advice you've been given that made it more complicated? Let's hear it!💜

💜Nearly everyday of my life for almost the past decade, I've been asked, "Bryana, how do I get my child to listen to me?" The-perfect-parent-Bryana (pre-kids) had a step-by-step guide on how to make this happen. Today, the-imperfect-𝘢𝘀𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭-parent-me clearly sees: the only way children will change their behaviors is if parents change 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 behaviors.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌I'm sorry to be the bearer of difficult news, but this is also backed by research. In infant mental health, we say that parents are the 'agents of change'. If parents don't make shifts, I see very little progress with children. When parents shift their mindset, find new meaning behind their child's behaviors, and then change how they respond, we usually see a dramatic change in typically functioning children.⁣ ⁣ ✹This is because the capacity for change is a higher functioning cognitive skill, which children have limited access to. It's our temperament that needs to bend to suit their's. If we expect our children to change for us, we will feel dissatisfied with the parenting process.⁣ ⁣ 🀪My mom used to scream at us to stop yelling. Several decades later, we're still the loudest people in any room. Definitely wasn't an effective way to get us to stop yelling, haha!⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What behaviors do you need to shift to better support your child's emotional regulation? Doesn't have to be a big change. Even small shifts can reap huge rewards.💜

💜Hey mamas! Daylight Savings is upon us - we roll back the clocks next Saturday evening/early Sunday morning. ⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌For anyone who doesn't have kids, this means an extra hour of sleep. For the rest of the world, it means things get messed up for a week or two. UGH!⁣ ⁣ ✅Here are some easy to implement and gradual steps to help with the upcoming time change. ⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What things have helped you in the past with the time change? Please share below so a new mama can get some extra support!💜

💜This is a fundamental truth that I simply cannot share enough. If you were raised in an unhealthy emotional environment, chances are you are struggling with knowing how to cope with your own emotions. Maybe you flip your lid fast; maybe you freeze and shut down; maybe you get anxious and frightened. Maybe you consciously tell yourself to be calm, cool, and collected, but inside you're feeling all the feels and you're wondering if your child will notice.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌At any given moment, I can be a combination of any of the above. Regulation does not come easy for me. Our way of communicating feelings as a child was screaming, slandering each other's integrity, and then finding a way to blame the other: "Well, if you had only just ___, then I wouldn't have blown up at you." You know, that kind of unhealthy stuff that your subconscious loves to hang on to for survival.⁣ ⁣ ✹Emotional regulation is a practice. We need to make space for our feelings. Honor them by noticing them, not shoving them deep inside or projecting them onto our children. Accept that your child will trigger you. That makes you human. ⁣ ⁣ ✹Really, it's a gift that our children trigger us, because it teaches us where we need to do more healing work. These are conversations that need to be had in new motherhood. They shape how we raise our children.⁣ ⁣ ✅Come to group if you're local so we can discuss this more personally.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What does this bring up for you? I'd love to hear your reflections.💜

💜This is one of my favorite tools for parenting in a more positive, gentle, authoritative way. When I say "hold the feelings", I mean we make space for our child's emotional experiences. We don't shun them or dismiss them. Feelings are valid whether or not we agree with them.⁣ ⁣ 👉🏌While we hold the feelings, we also hold the line. This is the boundary or the limit that we *flexibly* expect our children to work towards. Just because my child is having a meltdown doesn't mean that I need to give in to their demand. I do, however, need to hold the limit, and support my child in regulating so that they can be guided along the values that I set forth.⁣ ⁣ ✹We feed the hungriest first. If, in a conflict with your child, you're overwhelmed, it's best to say nothing and focus on breathing. Ensure your child is physically safe. Support the angry emotions after. And remember: your child is never acting out to manipulate or control you. They aren't acting out 'even if they know better'. Your child has an immature way of expressing needs for safety, containment, love, affection, and even basic needs like food, water, and warmth. Focus on the need, not the behavior, and you will feel a shift in how you respond to challenging moments with your little one.⁣ ⁣ ✅Come to class or sign up for the e-course waitlist. Link in bio.⁣ ⁣ 👇🏜What's been a challenging moment you've had with your kiddo this week?💜

🌌Activity of the Week: Pressed Flowers ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🌷Any activity that gets our kids engaged with the outdoors is truly worthwhile. This very simple activity can be easily altered to meet your child’s unique developmental needs. All you need is contact paper and some flowers. If you want to get fancy, you can also press aluminum foil to create interesting art. Pro-tip: have scissors and a rolling pin handy, especially for pre-school aged kids. If your child isn’t into pressing the flowers, peeling contact paper off of smooth surfaces is a fun alternative. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👍🏜This particular activity involves selecting flowers, which provides a rich sensory experience. Benefits include bilateral coordination practice by standing still, holding the paper, and sticking the flowers on with the other hand. Tactile senses are stimulated by the stickiness of the paper. Cognitive attention span and reasoning skills become activated: does this stick to my hand every time I touch it? Fine motor skills of grasping, transferring, and pulling apart the flowers are also practiced.💜 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹6mos+: provide your child a bowl of preselected flowers. Let them smell, squeeze, and enjoy the flowers. Demonstrate how to press them onto the sticky side of the paper. Narrate and describe your child’s reactions. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹12mos+: let your child work on this activity while standing at a small table to help promote their engagement. Let your child be an active part of the flower picking process. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹3yrs+: encourage your child to cut the contact paper. After pressing the flowers, encourage them to add things like glitter. Finish the project by laying aluminum foil or a heavy piece of cardstock. Have your child practice writing their name on the back of it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 😀Have a fun and relaxing time making your pressed flower creations. Be sure to tag us in your pics/stories if you try this one out! 👇🏜 Questions? Ask below!

🙋🏻‍♀I grew up in an environment where connection was limited and correction was constant. As a child, I thought nothing of it. It was all I knew. I assumed everyone felt bad about themselves and deeply despised certain personal qualities by the time they were in elementary school. I distinctly remember feeling ridiculed for my loudness and my intensity. I was told that I’d never make friends if I kept acting in the way that felt natural and intuitive for me. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 😳Even in my graduate studies, I had a supervisor work very hard to get me to ‘tone it down’. My entire year in supervision was spent toward getting her to like me. In fact, I’ve spent much of my life trying to behave in ‘correct’ ways in order to get people to like me. I thought this was how I could feel closer and more connected to others, by being exactly who they needed me to be. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🙃Turns out, I was very wrong. I have to constantly remind my younger self that life is not about getting people to like you, it’s about feeling safe and comfortable in being who you are while feeling connected to others who accept you for who you are. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💯This process starts very young, at infancy really. As parents, we are in such a powerful, influential position to shape how our children experience the world around them. I want my son to feel connected to the people in his life. I want him to know that he is valued and appreciated for exactly who he is, even if it’s challenging or difficult for me. I also want my son to learn how to be in this world, and that does involve some gentle corrections. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💜Connect first with your child; discipline does not need to sacrifice the integrity of your child’s essence. When necessary, correct in a developmentally-attuned manner; it’s an important thing that our children learn how to be civilized and follow social norms. You will both feel more regulated if you follow these simple guidelines. 👇🏜 Please share your questions below.

👶🏜I am so glad I discovered @buildingyourbaby - they are advocates for #babyledmovement, and if you’ve been in any of my classes, you’ve heard me discuss the importance of letting our babies take the lead in their physical development. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ❓What IS Baby-Led Movement? Put simply, it’s giving baby complete control of moving their bodies at their own time and pace. Instead of us taking charge of their milestones by putting them in seats that force premature sitting and bouncers that force premature standing and walking, our kids are discovering the joy of movement completely on their own
when they are ready. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💯What gets in the way of Baby-Led Movement? PRESSURE! At your child’s 6 month appointment, your pediatrician places her in a seated position, and proceeds to tell you (as if you didn’t already know) whether or not she can sit. What they often fail to mention is that 50% of children do not sit independently by 6 months, and a child’s ability to sit is based upon their ability to move into and away from the seated position! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🙌🏜There’s also a phenomenal amount of pressure to get our children walking earlier than they are ready - as if early walking is associated with higher cognitive functioning (it’s not). Research does suggest that the longer a child crawls, the more integrated their sensory neurological systems are, which leads to better academic performance and achievement in school-aged kids. So there’s that
 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉🏌Long story short: your baby’s development does not need to happen on any specific timeline other than the one your child initiates. Tag us in your stories of your baby leading their own movement. 👇🏜Questions? Ask away! 💜

🀯Holy shiz I’ve had a whirlwind of a day and it’s only 1p! My son woke up at 3:30a, and had a helluva time getting back to sleep. He only recently started sleeping through the night (about 3 months ago), but I sure was getting used to uninterrupted sleep. 😂 I finally got him back to sleep around 6a, and he slept skin-to-skin until 8a. Then our neighbors decided to park their gigantic moving truck right in front of our driveway, and so this set the tone for the day. Just a friendly reminder that stuff is constantly changing, perfect mothers don’t exist, and we’re all trying our freaking best to rock this mom thing, even though we never really know what to expect day-to-day. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Just for fun: between the hours of 8a-12:30p, Matteo ate for 2 hours. He ate breakfast for an hour. And lunch for an hour. I’m pretty sure I’m going to come home to a gigantic baby I do not recognize. Wish me luck.💜

💜When I first learned about attachment theory in graduate school, it really resonated with my entire heart and soul. There is something profound about the dynamic part of our relationships with one another. It’s more than just ‘blood’, as my Italian-American family would say. 👉🏌 Healthy attachments are about safety, security, predictability, and reliability. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Some of us enjoy these qualities in our relationships; many of us may struggle with a sense of loneliness if we didn’t experience this as children. 💯 I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t want to have a healthy relationship with their child. I know many parents who find it really challenging to have healthy interactions with their children because of unresolved wounds that keep opening up.😞 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✅Play is one of the easiest things we can do to extend a sense of safety, security, predictability, and reliability toward our children. It’s not an opportunity to educate our children about names of objects, colors, shapes, or sounds. When we do this, it’s parent-led play, and it asks the child to engage according to our terms. This can feel disempowering to the child who already has such little power and control in his daily life. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🙌🏜Instead, attachment play is an opportunity to discover who your child is. Essentially, you play your way into your child’s heart, and as a result, you get to know your own heart a little more. ✹ Everyday, for about 15 minutes, I play according to Matteo’s interests and desires. I narrate what I see him doing; I reflect the words and sounds I hear him make. I smile, laugh, and offer him physical affection. I set limits only when necessary, and fill his bucket with as much love and attention I can offer. 👍🏜 When I find my mind wondering (which happens more than I’d like), I don’t judge myself. I invite my mind back to the present moment, and remind myself that connection is a process and a practice. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👇🏜I’d love to hear how you use play to connect with your child, to feel safe together, and to share joy with one another.💜 Happy Friday beauties!

💜There’s a lot of talk about helicoptering our kids and the negative effects it has on our children’s self-esteem as they age. Psychologists have finally started discussing the alternative: Lighthouse Parenting. ⚓ Contrary to helicoptering, lighthouse parents allow their children to safely navigate the waves of life. They love their children unconditionally, just the way they are, not based on performances or grades. They know their children may not always succeed, and if and when they do fail, they trust in their ability to recover. They support their child’s ability to regulate, which allows the child to feel resilient in the face of stress. These children know they are part of a loving, supportive family who will be there to help them when they need them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🚁Helicoptering our kids is almost always done with benevolent intentions: we want to show our children that we are here for them anytime they need us; we want them to feel safe and protected; we don’t want them to suffer or experience failure; we want them to know that they are deeply loved and so very important to us. Sounds great right? 👉🏌 Except anxious hovering actually sends the opposite message: it tells our children that they are not good enough by themselves, and in order to succeed, they require our guidance and support. This is antithetical to the child’s psychology, which is driven toward autonomy and self-mastery. This is why parents who hover often have anxious, dysregulated children. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💯Children need to make mistakes and experience failures in order to build resilience, self-compassion, and empathy for others. They need these experiences to gain a deeper awareness to the imperfections of the world, which allows them to embrace their own imperfections. We live a much fuller, happier life when we practice self-acceptance and let go of being perfect. It starts with us. 🙏🏌 Be the lighthouse, not the helicopter. 💜

🎈Activity of the Week: Balloon Play ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🙃It was such a busy weekend, and it’s going to continue to be a busy week, so I wanted a quick, simple activity that is child-led and requires virtually nothing from me. We blew up some balloons, and I encouraged Matteo to play with them however he wanted. He’s 16 months, and he was engaged with walking around holding 2 balloons at once, squeezing it, trying to bite it, and kicking it. He even climbed the Pikler triangle and tossed one down the slide, after which he erupted with so much laughter. Pure joy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👍🏜Benefits of balloon play include creativity and imagination, tactile stimulation, and gross motor coordination depending on how your child plays with them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹Pre-crawling: if you have access to a helium tank, fill your balloons up with helium and tie some string on each balloon. Then, tie the string to your baby’s hands and feet, and let them lay on their back, letting them pat away at the balloons. It’s a great core strength builder and helps with coordination. Plus, it’s super cute to watch how excited they are when they realize they are the ones manipulating the balloon’s movements. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹Crawling+: Encourage your child to bat and chase the balloons as they crawl/walk. They can collect the balloons into big boxes. For the toddler who walks confidently, he can work on kicking and tossing the balloon back and forth, both great for coordination and building reciprocity in play. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹3yrs+: Encourage your child to squeeze the balloon between their legs and walk around the house. To give them an extra challenge, have them balance an egg on a spoon. You can also initiate a game of “Keep It Up”, where you have to work together to keep the balloon up in the air without touching the floor. This encourages vestibular development as well as collaboration and team work. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💜Have a fun and easy time playing with balloons. I’m eager to see how you and your kids play with them - there are infinite things to explore! Share with us your pics and ideas👇🏜

💜What do you do when your toddler rejects you? The first time Matteo did this to me, he seemed as if he wanted to jump into our nanny’s arms and go home with her. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t sting a little bit. Of course it felt bad. I’d do anything for my baby, and yet he’s acting like I’m disposable? 😳 WTF! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ It’s really important when we find ourselves triggered in these ways, that we ask ourselves two things: 1⃣ What is developmentally appropriate for my child? and 2⃣ What from my past is coming up that needs to be examined? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✅For a toddler, it’s developmentally appropriate for them to behave in rejecting ways toward their parent at times. It’s a reflection of your child’s self-assertion and need for individuation. In these early years, your child is discovering that he is a totally separate being from you. With this discovery comes big feelings and fears that your child needs to learn how to work through. Hang in there. Your toddler’s rejection is not about you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉🏌Since it isn’t about us when our toddlers reject us, we must look beneath the surface. What is your history with feeling rejected? For me, I lived in fear as a child that I would do something that would displease my mom; I feared her reaction, which was often unpredictable. Sometimes she was so loving and understanding; other times, she was aggressive and shaming. I never knew what I was going to get, and so I walked on egg shells to keep the peace. 😞 When my son tried to leap into my nanny’s arms and banged on the front door crying out for her as she went home, this is what went pulsing through my body. I feared if it would always be like this; if I’d have to watch my every step to ensure I don’t disappoint him. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💯We re-enact our patterns of hurt and sadness with our children. Our awareness of these re-enactments is quite powerful, as it’s our awareness alone that can re-write the story that we tell ourselves. Healing these old wounds is our responsibility. 👇🏜 I’m curious to know your thoughts on this topic. What things need healing for you? How does your child bring this to your attention? 💜

💜This is a tough post for me to write. I spend all of my working hours helping to facilitate authentic connections between parents, their children, and the like. And yet when it comes time for me to connect authentically to those in my inner circle, my guard is often up. I sometimes struggle allowing others to ‘hold’ me; I fear I am a burden to them. My old wounds ask me to protect myself, and I’m hypervigilent to whatever I perceive to be a danger. 💯 It’s a real thing that prevents intimacy, bonding, and a deep feeling of attachment. I share this because I know when I share from my heart, it touches some of you. And if in my sharing you feel helped, then I’ve done a service. Many women (and men) suffer from less-than-satisfactory connections with the people they love the most. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹Part of my healing process has been letting go of my expectations for others. I have extraordinarily high expectations for myself, so much so that I have to remind myself to enjoy all of the wonderful things that surround me. 😞 That’s sad, isn’t it? The problem gets exacerbated when I expect others to rise to these insurmountable expectations, which blocks me from appreciating them for who they really are. Perhaps this is just a reflection of my own ‘block’ in engaging with myself for who I really am. Self-work never ends. 👍🏜 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉🏌What does this have to do with motherhood? Our identity gets rocked when we become mothers. Most of us have to unlearn old behaviors, relearn a new sense of self, and rediscover new ways to be in relationship. We do this for our children’s sake - or so we tell ourselves.✅ I believe we do this not only for their sake, but for our soul’s sake, too. The more we honor who we authentically are, the more respect we extend toward others living their truths. Our relationships get better. 🙌🏜 Judgment, the toxic fume that destroys authentic connections, fades away.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 💜Vulnerability is at the heart of authentic connections. Today, I choose vulnerability over comfort. I’m curious about you. What are your thoughts on this topic? What’s it like to share your true self with others?

💜Your maladaptive beliefs are getting in between you and your most important relationships. The truth is, these types of beliefs are not usually your’s. They are often the voices of someone highly influential in your life that you assumed to be your own voice. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🔺Linking vulnerability and weakness is a social attitude (and not based in research). It’s courageous to sit with the discomfort of vulnerability. · 🔺Tying mistakes to catastrophic failure is due to unreasonable expectations. You’re human - mistakes are inevitable. · 🔺Seeing your child as an extension of you, as opposed to a completely separate being, may be because you were parentified as a child, and so you see the actions of others as your personal responsibility. As a parent, we can guide our children, but ultimately, they have to be the ones to make decisions for themselves. We can’t personalize it too much. · 🔺Telling yourself that you should appreciate all the parenting moments, even the hard ones, is perhaps due to our society’s s belief that saying something is hard equates to admitting defeat. Parenting is hard AF, and saying certain moments sucks doesn’t mean you don’t love your children or that you regret becoming a parent. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹These are all toxic ways of being in the world. We suffer emotionally, physically, and relationally when we subscribe to these ways of thinking. Moms, we are not talking about this enough with one another. I have the pleasure of witnessing what happens when we take the time to process and grow from these maladaptive belief patterns. We get to know our true selves. We feel better cared for emotionally. We feel more connected to those around us. Ultimately, our relationships change for the better. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thoughts? 👇🏜 I’d love to know how you challenge ways of thinking that no longer serve you. 💜

✹ Beyond the baby blues✹ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1 out of 5 women - that’s 20% of postpartum women - will experience some perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. 1 out of 10 fathers, adoptive parents, and even foster parents will also experience these challenges. PMADs, or more commonly known as Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Anxiety, is the number one complication of pregnancy and birth. This is a BIG deal. We must do better about educating postpartum families about what’s normal and what is not normal. Families need to know what their treatment options are. Most importantly, we must shout it from the rooftops: you are not alone. There is help. And you will get better. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Baby blues is not PPD. It’s common and normal for new mothers to experience episodes of crying and feeling stressed in the first two weeks following delivery. After this time frame, if you’re still feeling weepy and overwhelmed, you may be experiencing a PMAD. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ PPD/PPA can settle in during anytime in the first YEAR following your delivery. Many moms don’t realize they need treatment until their child is 4 months or so. PPD/PPA symptoms may look like anxiety, lack of energy (beyond what you would expect from sleep deprivation), forgetfulness, frequent crying, sleeping problems, low self-esteem, hopelessness, feeling overwhelmed, appetite problems (eating too little, eating too much), irritability, and anger. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Did you know Postpartum OCD is a THING? Obsessive and intrusive thoughts, including thoughts about harming the baby, can be a sign of PPOCD. Avoiding the baby, feeling extremely anxious, and engaging in repetitive behaviors like obsessively checking if the baby is breathing and feeling extremely stressed about cleanliness and germs can be PPOCD. Scary thoughts by themselves aren’t necessarily PPOCD; if you can’t shake them, then you’re suffering. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Suffering is not a necessary part of new motherhood. If you aren’t feeling like yourself, or others are saying they are concerned for you, reach out. Get help. Get support. 👇🏜 If you’re a survivor (or currently going through) any form of PMAD, comment with a 💜 below.

Mamas: feed yourself faithfully. Yesterday, I had eaten breakfast early, but got so busy I skipped lunch. I felt irritated and kind of snippy - did I mention I had several cups of cold coffee as well? - and soon it was 3:30p. I was HANGRY, and I’m not my best self. We’ve been socialized to meet the needs of everyone else around us first... and DAMN do us moms do that amazingly! But MAMAS GOTTA EAT... so please, go feed yourself with something delicious. If you get hangry like me, you’ll feel instantly better. #mangia #FeedYourself #hangrymama #foodislife #newmoms #southbaymoms #southbay #southbaymommyandme #selfcare

💜As moms, we are subject to scrutiny and judgment with everything we do it seems. It’s as if women are conditioned from an early age to judge one another. 😳 We get it from the outside world - family, friends, co-workers, partners, random strangers at the grocery store & the park. We get it about all the decisions we make: where we birth, how we birth, how we feed, how we educate, how we discipline. It’s overwhelming just thinking about all the ways we are judged. But I have to throw out a truth 💣: we also get it from within. We are usually our harshest critic. & it’s so hard to let it go, right?!?! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👉🏌Donna (@unwrapyoursoul) taught me that how we relate to ourselves is eventually how others learn to relate to us. So if we relate to ourselves in a judgmental way, we are inviting the rest of the world to see us this way as well. 🀯 This has been life changing for me. I’ve realized that in order to get to a place where I truly don’t care what others think about me, then I need to find peace and confidence in my mothering decisions. 💯 I need to feel okay with f-ing up at times, because it’s in the f-ups that I learn and grow. AND
 most importantly
 I need to actively practice surrendering the judgements of other mothers that I’ve been conditioned to hold. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹There’s no end destination in motherhood. It’s a journey that just keeps on going. The weight of toxic judgment makes the trek a burden. Start with yourself mama. 🙋🏻‍♀ Today, can you notice a judgment you have about yourself? Can you find a replacement idea of compassion & understanding? For example, I judge myself for not being back in my pre-baby clothes (16mos PP). If I’m not careful, I’ll tell myself I’m lazy & not trying hard enough. To flip this, I actively tell myself, “Getting into your pre-baby clothes is not your priority right now. One day, you’ll have more time and energy for it. Right now you have other priorities, & that works for you.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🙌🏜 Seriously mamas, take 2 minutes & give yourself this gift. Thoughts? 👇🏜 I’d love to hear them. 💜

🧹We’re celebrating Labor Day with our Activity of the Week: CLEANING ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 🧜Even if you have a day off of work, moms never get a day off! Seize the opportunity to help your child learn some responsibility! Cleaning does not need to be a chore. Children love learning how to wipe spills and sweep messes. It even invites magical play moments, like Matteo pretending to play the guitar with his broom.😍 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 👍🏜I love the Melissa & Doug Broom Set - perfect for walking tots - & their Cleaning Set. You won’t need to do much ‘teaching’. Just focus on the ‘doing’. Children LOVE to imitate. This activity activates gross motor, fine motor, bilateral coordination, social/emotional development, problem-solving skills, and the most important aspect to being alive, JOY. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹6mos+: in your child’s highchair after a meal, offer her a towel to practice wiping up the table. You can also let him explore wiping his hands and mouth with a wet paper towel. Instead of a straw or sippy cup, you can offer her a Munchkin Trainer Cup. Because it’s messy, it creates an opportunity for cleaning up! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹12mos+: Provide your child with smaller sized versions of whatever cleaning tools you use at home. Encourage him to fully participate in wiping up messes after meals and helping with sweeping and mopping. Help your child to clean up her toys & take responsibility for her things. Focus on the process, not that outcome. It’s in the learning of the activity that your child finds excitement & pleasure. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✹3yrs+: Children of this age are quite capable. Invite your child to wash the dishes, wash the floors, & fold/hang her clothes. It’s always appropriate to offer guidance & encouragement as our children are learning these important life skills. Your child’s natural drive to ‘get things right’ will help him refine & perfect his techniques over time. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ 😀 Have a great time with this activity. 👇🏜 Questions or Thoughts? We’d love to hear them. Have a beautiful day. 💜