Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI

The Mom Survival Guide for Holiday Stress from Clinical Psychologist Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco

November 30, 2021 Moms Meet and KIWI magazine Season 2 Episode 4
Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet and KIWI
The Mom Survival Guide for Holiday Stress from Clinical Psychologist Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco
Show Notes Transcript

The holidays can be overwhelming for moms, and trying to manage all of the expectations can be tricky, even for the most experienced of parents. Learn how you can navigate this time of year with less stress from Clinical Psychologist Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco. She shares her tips on how moms can alleviate some of this pressure and have a healthier and more magical holiday season.

Annie:

Welcome to Raising Healthy Families with Moms Meet in KIWI. We're giving you the tools to enjoy the beauty and chaos of life with little ones in the healthiest way possible. Hi, everyone. I'm Annie Douglass, Chief Mom Ambassador at Moms Meet, mom of three and today's host. The holidays can be super overwhelming and trying to manage all the expectations of this time of year can be tricky, even for the most experienced of moms. Today we're joined by clinical psychologist Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco to talk through why this time of year can be so stressful. She shares her tips on how we can alleviate some of that stress and pressure and have a more magical holiday season. This episode is brought to you in part by Brazi Bites. This holiday season make the most of the most important meal of the day with a quick and healthy breakfast sandwich created by pioneers of delicious Latin inspired, naturally gluten free better for you foods. Brazi Bites introduces new homestyle breakfast sandwiches. These are the first single serve gluten free breakfast sandwiches to hit the market. Each delicious flavor features simple clean ingredients such as cage free eggs, and nitrate free bacon sandwich between toasty slices of gluten free bread. These protein pack sandwiches bring you a satisfying homestyle taste that's ready in minutes in the microwave. Our guest today is Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, also known as Dr. CBT Mom, a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with stress moms and author of Mom Brain. She's the founder and director of the North Jersey Center for anxiety and stress management, and a diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Thank you so much for having me.

Annie:

Yeah so I'm really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the stress of the holiday season. And how that impacts moms in particular. I mean, as a mom of three myself, I just know how hard the holiday season is just in terms of the stress and the expectations that are out there. So I'm just really looking forward to this conversation. But I'd like to get to know you a little bit better here. So what are your some of your favorite holiday traditions that you do with your family?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Well, you know, I'm Jewish, and my husband's Catholic. And so what that means is that we celebrate everything. Which is actually great. I think maybe my favorite thing that we do is we do like a non denominational tree, where like, every year, we get a Christmas tree and we had a tradition before we had children of getting ornaments from places we traveled, and then putting the ornaments on the tree. Since we've had kids every year, we get each kid a new ornament that's sort of like emblematic of the year for them. Which is really cool, because now my older son is 10. And we can look back at these old ornaments and remember what he was like, kind of every year your same as my younger son who's seven. So I think that one's my favorite. And as a Jewish person, I just love having a tree, because I think all Jewish people love Christmas trees.

Annie:

You know, it's funny, we just put up our Christmas tree and I just I mean love. It's just the tradition of just putting that up. And but I think it's so awesome that you can kind of, you know, put together different, you know, religious backgrounds, and you know, are making nondenominational and just, you know, make that be a family experience. I love that.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

My sons love it, too.

Annie:

Yeah. And, and can you just tell us a little bit more about, I guess what you do as a clinical psychologist, because you work specifically with moms. So how did you get into that specialization?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

So I got into it largely by accident. By training, I am trained in evidence based treatments for anxiety and mood issues and related conditions. And when I started to establish my practice in suburban New York City, and I'm in Summit, New Jersey, I started I think just by virtue of my particular age, and stage in life, I started seeing a lot of moms who were similar to me like similar stage in life, new moms. And these moms, some of them met criteria for PMADs, which are perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Many of them though, did not and they were just kind of dealing with the stress and overwhelm you know, that that attends new motherhood. And I started to realize that all of the tools that I learned to help people with you know, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, things like that. All of those tools actually worked really well for moms who were stressed and overwhelmed. And so I basically adapted you know, what I knew to the population I was seeing and it was working really well and so I did more of that and then I started writing about it. And then it kind of became my my specialty area.

Annie:

Okay, wow, that's great. I wish I knew that someone like you existed when I was going through the early stages of motherhood, I mean, to have someone specialize, you know, in, you know, in that area, I think is is amazing. And so can you tell me a little bit more about like, what is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

So CBT is a present moment focused, research backed type of treatment that's really about giving you skills that you can use in the moment when you're having a hard time. So it's less about, you know, let's unpack your childhood. Or let's gain insight into why you got here. And it's more about okay, well, now that you're here, what are tools that you can use to help you manage and relate it to CBT, or to other evidence based treatments, research based treatments that I use a lot, which are acceptance and commitment therapy, or act and dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. And they too, again, are research based, and offer concrete skills that you can use in the moment to help you cope.

Annie:

Got it. Got it. Okay. So in this podcast, we're talking about the holiday season, and how stressful that can be, especially for moms. So what are some of the main holiday stressors that you hear about from your mom clients? And why do you feel like it is so stressful and difficult to manage?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Um, I'd say the biggest issue is one of expectations where moms just have unreasonably high expectations of themselves and of the holiday season, right, like basically mom's expecting themselves to be Santa or, you know, whatever your denominations equivalent is of that. And, and really just trying to do too much, and expecting too much so. So that's, that's a big one. I think another big one actually has to do with like holiday travel and being with family. Because it can be really challenging, especially with young kids, but with kids of any age, to like, go and stay at a relative's house for a couple of days, presents a lot of challenges when moms are trying to sort of control what their kids are doing and what they're doing. And then they find themselves in an environment that's completely out of their control. That's a tricky one. Related to that, too, is family conflict and family issues, right, which do tend to bubble up unfortunately, during the holidays when everybody is together. And I'd say another issue, which moms don't necessarily call out, but which I call out, because I see it all the time is like, mom's not stopping to take any care of themselves or pay any attention to themselves during the holiday season. Because they're just again, they're trying to meet these unrealistic expectations and ignoring themselves.

Annie:

Yeah I can really relate to that. The first one that you had mentioned that on the set, having those unrealistic expectations, I know for, for my family, you know, I, I really worry about or I guess, what I always want to do is make sure that my kids have the best experience. And I feel like, you know, it has to top last year's experience. And, you know, I don't want to let my kids down, you know, and so, you know, with, you know, gifts, we I want them to love their gifts and have this magical experience. And, you know, I think that you see a lot of that in the media and just everywhere you go, you're comparing yourself to other, you know, other families and how they do Christmas. And I can definitely relate to that. And so it's good to hear that that is it's not just myself that is dealing with that.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it's a major, it's, it's a major, major issue. And I think, right, I mean, you're right, like I think, you know, social media in particular, it's like one upmanship, right, everybody's trying to do more for the holiday than their neighbor. Like they even have those like reality shows on TV like the who has the best holiday lights on their house. It's just it's all about one upmanship. And I think, especially this year, because last year, so many of us really didn't have much of a holiday season to speak of due to COVID that I feel like the pressure is even greater on moms this year to sort of make up for what they missed last year.

Annie:

Yeah, yeah, that is very true. Yeah. So how do you how do you recommend or what is your advice that you give, you know, for for moms to overcome, like this feeling of needing to, you know, meet those expectations or, you know, just have this amazing you know, obviously we all want to give our kids the best experience but you know, when that's when that starts becoming too much for the mom, the mom breaks down or you know, is in a panic, I mean, what do you recommend in those situations.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

So it's gonna sound funny, but part of what I recommend, and I talk about this in the book is actually setting the bar low. Meaning at the outset of the holidays, really, like very consciously temper your expectations of yourself and of the holidays. And I learned this the hard way, because with my first son, I had like, super high expectations for every holiday. And then every holiday was a crushing disappointment, like no exaggeration. And because we celebrate the Jewish and Christian holidays, that was a lot of disappointment, first couple years, so. So I think some of it is really very consciously being like, okay, you know, what can I, what can I reasonably expect from this, like, you know, maybe a realistic expectation is when we sit down to make these holiday cookies, my kid lasts 10 minutes, or they look horrendous, but we have fun making them or you know, and that's just a very small example. But I think with with a lot of things, you can very consciously say, alright, like, I gotta rein this in, what's reasonable for me to expect, right? And then I think, you know, I add to that, you know, I talk a lot in my brain about values, and about remembering what you value and what's important to you. And I think, remembering what you value is also very critical, because to really think through, okay, like, what really matters to me about the holidays, like, you know, as a kid, what mattered to me as an adult, like, what's the vibe, I want to give my kids around the holidays, and to really remind yourself of that, because you can really get in the weeds with this holiday stuff. And then kind of forget about what's important to you, and what's not important to you, right? Because you're so caught up in things. So I will often have my patients really think through and in fact, in in my brain, there's a values worksheet, and one section is about holidays, and special events, where I asked moms to really think about, okay, like, what do you value and what's important to you around the holidays, and constantly checking in with yourself during the holiday season to be like, well, does this matter to me based on what I value? Or does it not? Like, you know, and some of the smallest things can have the biggest impact, like, I mean, I can speak to my own experience, where like, when I was probably my younger son's age seven, eight, we were driving home from New York City on Christmas Eve, and I remember, in the, in the window of the car, like seeing lights in the sky, and being convinced that it was Santa. And of course, like I'm Jewish, but whatever. Thought it was Santa. And my parents are like, sure, whatever. And so I remember my mom being like, oh, yeah, I heard that too. And I think maybe I heard some, some bells, you know, tinkling, or whatever. And like, that's like one of my most special holiday memories. And like, that requires no work that requires no money that requires, you know, no, no effort on the part of my mom, other than just to, like, you know, drive my enthusiasm to get as a Jewish person is sort of funny. But we still love Santa. So like, I think it's really important to, to remember that too. And I'll say one more. One or two more things about this, you know, one thing I will always tell moms to do, and this is a good CBT exercise, like whether we're talking the holidays or other things, is to really ask yourself, like, what's the worst case scenario? So if you're stressing out about something related to the holidays, like, what's the worst thing that's going to happen? You know, like, you're, you know, there's this toy shortage, people are freaking out about the toy shortage. So like, what's the worst thing that happens? Like, your kid doesn't get that particular toy? And like, your, your kid will manage? You know? Yeah, I think, again, we get so caught up that we fail to think about, alright, like, really? What's the worst thing that happens if this goes awry? And it's a really good anxiety reducer to think in those terms to say, All right, well, if this doesn't go to plan, how would I manage? What would I do and like, you know, nine times out of 10, maybe even 10 times out of 10, with this holiday stuff, you could manage very effectively, even if things go totally off the rails. So that's another one. Another thing that I you know, I really encourage moms to think about.

Annie:

Yeah, no, that's, those are great tips, for sure. I mean, I, you know, so setting the, the bar lower and making sure that you set your expectations low, and then asking yourself that in the moment, you know, what is the worst case scenario? What, you know, those two questions, I think, are those two kind of little actions that we can take as moms, I really think, you know, if we remember during the stressful times, you gotta, you got to remember and I think that would make a big difference. I remember one year I was just really wanting to have a beautiful Christmas tree, you know, the ornaments just so and just it looking really great. And I had a toddler at that point. And you know, how toddlers are they you know, they want to help with decorating the tree but all the ornaments ended up at the bottom of the tree and the top of the tree was there. And it was just you know, my toddler picked out the not so beautiful looking ornaments, you know, and arranged it. And I just remember just going down this path of being really upset because I wanted this perfect tree. And, and this was not so perfect. But I do think in that moment, just and I remember getting getting to the place where I felt at peace with it, and I was okay with it. But I think it's like this need of, you know, wanting to have perfection during the holidays and making it look picture perfect. I think it's, it's a very common thing for all of us moms. So, yeah, I mean, that's just something personal, I remember, as you were talking of how the thing that has affected me in the past, and how your tips could really help, you know, during those times. So, you know, we did touch on this a little bit with social media, and you talked about that, and how that impacts, you know, all of us, but why do you think that moms do feel like they they are seeking perfection? Or that they really have to put in so much effort? Like, what is the underlying motivation, do you think?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

I mean, this is this is an issue for moms, regardless of the time of year, you know, a whole chapter in the book, like literally an entire chapter on profound maternal perfectionism. Because I think it's such a, an issue.

Annie:

Oh, interesting.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Gosh, Oh, yeah. Yeah, I mean, you know, I think, unfortunately, we moms still, even in this day, and age, kind of get this message that we are supposed to be all things to all people at all times. And I think the holidays are a prime example of that, where it's just about, you know, you've got to make this magical for your kids, right. And we get this message through social media, we get this message through, like mainstream media, right, like advertisements. And, you know, I mean, even like, Pinterest alone, like, you go on there, and you're flooded by, you know, a million different holiday ideas and things you should be doing should, quote unquote, should be doing. So I think it's inescapable. And I think unfortunately, like, as I said, this is a symptom of like a larger issue, which is mom's being, you know, sort of expected to do this, and to, you know, be the ones who facilitate everything. And it's so it's really, really hard. And again, I think this year is worse because of COVID. And this, this push to make things so wonderful because of last year's disappointments, I think it's, you know, a lot of my patients are kind of like, in overdrive. Now, with that, plus the toy shortage. By the way, the toy shortage is also like freaking out moms and grandmas, I should say, because I heard from like, both my mother and my mother in law, like, no joke in like, late September, we heard their toy shortages, what do kids want? And I was like, Are you kidding me? Like, we just got back to school? So it's grandma's too, apparently, who are feeling this pressure?

Annie:

Yeah, that's really true. It does affect affect, you know, all generations of women. And I'm looking forward to reading your book, because that is so true. It's the perfection, the you know, the perfectionism? Or, you know, the that mental load of what mom's carry, you know, is? Yeah, it's overwhelming in a in a, on a day to day basis outside of the holidays. So I guess another question that that I have is, you know, in terms of, you know, spending time with family and interact when interacting with family during the holidays. And, obviously, you know, you had mentioned earlier about family conflict, and if that exists, that adds to the stress. So, you know, can you talk a little bit more about that, and maybe some tips to, you know, help moms during that time, so that that time with family or extended family isn't as stressful?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

I mean, there's a lot that's hard. I think about family time and not the family time, is it wonderful, but there a lot of challenges. So I had mentioned before, about sort of like putting your kids in unfamiliar environments, if you're staying over with family, if you're or you're spending just a lot of time like outside of your house. It's very disorienting for everybody like you as a parent can't control what's happening and your kids are in an unfamiliar environment. And PS during the holiday season, unfamiliar environments are usually like really chaotic, with like a lot of people running around. Maybe some people your kids don't really know, probably your kids are over sugared, probably over gifted. Like they're overtired, right, so like they're totally out of their schedules and routines. And so it's really challenging from a parenting standpoint, having younger ones to to manage that right And then I think also, it's just that different families have different ways of doing things and different routines. And when you get a whole family together under one roof that maybe hasn't been together under one roof since, like, you know, the early 2000s, or whatever. I mean, everyone has different ways of doing things. And so people can come into conflict in terms of like, how did you want to spend the holiday versus like, how does your sister's family want to spend the holiday versus how do your parents as grandparents now want to spend the holiday or whatever it is? Right. So I think that's difficult, I think. I think it's also difficult because in this day and age, what I hear about a lot is like, very, sort of politically tinged conversations coming up. And then family events that make people very uncomfortable, like you have that one relative that's always ranting and raving and like, what do you do with that relative? So so I guess I'll talk about like coping strategies for all of those situations. In terms of having a really unfamiliar environment and routine. The funny thing is, I actually tell moms by enlarge, to try to envision in their head kind of a schedule for the day, just to give the day a bit of a shape, but also to honestly be willing to just say, Screw it. Because what I have found is that efforts to control things during holiday times when again, your kids are over sugared, overtired, over gifted, etc. And you're in an unfamiliar environment where you don't have control over things like the efforts to control things actually make moms more stress. Oh, yeah. And make it more difficult. Then if moms say, You know what, I'm throwing my hands up like, today, you know, today is going to be what it's going to be and yeah, my kid might melt down and yeah, my kid might miss their nap. And yeah, my you know, my kid might only eat like, we had one Thanksgiving where my son my little one, like, only ate sweets the entire day, like no joking. And I think like you, what you can do as a mom is you can be like, Oh my gosh, this is bad for his his health. And I need to sit here and make sure he's eating some of this turkey. And then I need to make sure he gets up, you know, marches upstairs for a nap while like everybody else is having fun. Or you can just be like, You know what? I'm throwing my hands up, right. And I actually think that's a better thing to do. For stress management, particularly when you have young kids who have routines and have schedules, no one is a bigger proponent of routines and schedules than I am. However, I think trying to enforce them in unfamiliar places during holiday times can lead to more stress than it's worth. But to get back to the schedule, think for a second. Yeah. As I said before, I do think you can think through kind of a rough schedule for the day and actually share it with your kids the night before. Because that's a really good way to help your kids with the chaos and even if it's like so here's what we're going to do tomorrow, guys, like we're going to open our presents at home and then we're going to go to you know, Uncle so and so's house. And apparently, you know, Uncle so and so said, it's warm enough, you guys can go on the trampoline, and then we're going to have some lunch, and then so and so is going to come over, right, like setting expectations in that way. And the schedule in that way can actually be helpful, because then your kids kind of know what the day is going to look like. And you know, as well, but again, when you get to that day, and chaos does ensue. Just being willing to sort of let it go. Because otherwise I think you're putting undue pressure on yourself.

Annie:

Yeah, I love that. I mean, that that is just, you know, so smart to just set your mind at ease. And okay, I'm not gonna worry about trying to control everything. I mean, I know I can get there too. Like I am a routine person. My kids have strict bed times. But you know, I definitely can see how that will lessen the stress on the mom, um, you just, you know, trying to enjoy the holidays and have this great time with your family and then um, you know, trying to also stick to the schedule Yeah, I mean that's I can just imagine how what a relief it would bring for the mom if we can just remind ourselves but it's okay to kind of let it go and it's okay if they have a little more sugar.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

And the kids are gonna tantrum anyway. I mean, honestly, like I like because moms have come back to me and said, Well, no, no, if if they skip their nap or if they you know up late or whatever, they're gonna tantrum PS they're going to tantrum anyway. Because like I said, before, they are in this environment, that is they're getting way too much sugar and presence and people to my mind, you know, the tantrums will probably happen regardless. Yeah, so at least have made you know, at least take the pressure off yourself. You know, or like I can give another example where like my, my mother in law still has my husband and his brothers like old school Nintendo at her house. And there have been Christmases were like my son's will go down to play, God knows how old version of whatever and like, we'll be down there for hours. And there's of course a part of me that's like, ah, which screentime too much screen time, but then there's a part of me that's like, no, but wait, I'm having a really nice time, just sitting upstairs talking to the grownups. This is one day out of my child's entire life. Let me let me let them do this so that I can have some fun. And so I think that this is, you know, that's, that's one of many examples of this type of thinking.

Annie:

Yeah, absolutely. Now, you've touched on, you know, the fact you know, you gave that tip about talking to your kids the night before, and making sure that, you know, they, they understand what's to come the next day. And I love that tip, do you have any other advice or tips to help our kids navigate stress during the holidays?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

So yeah, again, I'm a big fan of telling them what to expect ahead of time. I also think it's really important that they have downtime during these days. Because I think and again, this is something I fell prey to interestingly, as an aunt, before I had kids of like, trying to do too much with a kid on a given day, too much magic is not good, because it gets them very, very overwhelmed. And so I think another thing that's really important to do is to try if you can to build some downtime into your kids holiday schedule, again, I think when you first have kids, your your inclination is to do everything, right, it's like, go to the mall and take the picture with Santa and then go on like the Santa ride or like, you know, if it's, if it's Hanukkah, it's like you got to do, you got to do eight nights of presents, and you have to do, you know, I think you've got to give your kids a chance to chill out a little bit. Because if you over schedule them and sort of over holiday them, it's actually going to lead to some problems for you and for them. So again, I think if you know, to the extent that you can, if you can prepare them for each day, what the day is going to look like something to that's really always helpful for older kids. And this is not just during holiday times, but but and, you know, anytime is to give them some agency and like, involve them in the planning, you know, to an age appropriate extent, of course, but like, you know, so let's say, oh, like tomorrow, you're off from school? Like, do you have some ideas of what we might do? Or like, give them the opportunity to like, help you wrap presents? Or, you know, I think for kids, they like that too, because, again, that's just good practice, like it builds their agency and helps them to feel in control. So I think that's a good thing to think about, too. Is is involving them in the planning in an age appropriate way.

Annie:

Yeah, no, that's a great tip as well. I'm really curious what advice you have for for moms, in terms of self care during the holidays. You know, I mean, I love I love the advice of, you know, letting the kids go and not worrying and have, you know, letting them be off so we can enjoy our time with adults. But what are some other ways that we can be intentional about focusing on, on moms ourselves.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

I mean, this is something I talk about all 365 days of the year, not just during the holiday time. I as I've been mentioning, as we're talking, like I'm very big, into schedules and routines, generally speaking, holidays notwithstanding. And one of the things that I urge the moms that I work with to do is basically to schedule in time to take care of themselves. So what I will typically do is I'll ask mom to make a list of self care activities and why self care, I don't mean what they often mean when they talk about it in the media like manicures and pedicures. Like I don't mean that. I mean, like, it could mean that but but whatever it is for that particular Mom, that's like restorative. And that helps her to feel like herself. And that kind of, you know, brings her back to who she knows herself to be. So like, again, it could be men manicures and pedicures. For some it could be exercising for some reading, connecting with friends, and so on and so forth. So I'll have my patients make just like kind of a list of different self care activities. And then what I tell them to do as a matter of routine is like the night before, to kind of set a schedule for themselves for the next day. And it doesn't have to be like a schedule by the minute. But just to take a look at their day, you know, sort of put on their things that they have to do for work if they work for kids, etc. And then make sure to schedule in some time where they're doing something from their list. And it can be 15 minutes, it can be half an hour, it could be an hour, you know, every day is probably going to be different in terms of the time they have. But to really look at that list and to again schedule in for the next day something on there. And I say to do it the night before because what often happens with moms and taking care of themselves is that if they don't plan to do it ahead of time, and sort of, you know, figure out logistically what needs to be done to do it, they won't do it. Right. So I'll just give an example. Because I've, I've talked about this a lot where like, moms will say to me, like, gosh, I love to run and I want to go running on the weekends, but like the weekends, just they passed me by and then I just don't do it. And so we'll talk about, okay, well, what do you need to have in place? So you can run? Saturday mornings, like, can you make 10am? Saturday mornings, your running time? And can you tell your partner, hey, this is my running time. So like, just so you know, like, I'm gonna need you to be on with the kids from 10 to 11 on Saturday, so I can run, right? So once again, it's about logistically figuring out how you can make this self care stuff happen. So so that is what I suggest. And I suggested during the holidays, too, like I said, I like loose schedules, for the holidays, just setting up expectations. But making sure you're thinking about, okay, like, Can I steal away at some point tomorrow? Like, can I talk to my partner about like, just taking a walk around, you know, his parents neighborhood for a couple of minutes, you know, basically thinking through what you're going to do for yourself on any given day. And again, it doesn't have to be it could be 10-15 minutes, it could be like doing a five minute mindfulness exercise on an app. Like, it doesn't have to be anything crazy. But again, you really want to schedule it and think about it ahead of time. That's the key.

Annie:

Mm hmm. Yeah. As a follow up to what you just talked about. I'm really curious, why do you think it's so hard for moms to really make self care a priority?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

I mean, again, I think we're getting back to like, messaging missing, you know, moms have gotten through time immemorial, that like they are to sacrifice themselves for other people. You know, I mean, I think I wish, I wish that were not the case. And I wish we weren't still getting that messaging, but I think we are. And I think COVID showed us that right, with a rapid, you know, exit of moms from the workforce, relative to dads during COVID. So I think it's, it's, it's the messaging that we we get I mean, there's a lot has been said, there's a, there's a an author named Judith Warner, who wrote this great book now, a bunch of years ago, maybe 2005, called Perfect Madness. And she talked about what she calls the sacrificial mother. This, and I love that phrase, because I think it captures it to a tee, right? This this notion that that is our role, like we put everybody else ahead of ourselves. And what I hear about from patients a lot, and I talked to them about constantly, is this idea that they feel like taking care of themselves is selfish. And I work really hard. And I underscore this in the book too, to say like, taking care of yourself is not selfishness, they are not the same thing. Taking care of yourself is really important in order to help you to be a good parent, right? Like you've got to, you've got to restore yourself, routinely, you can't be at the service of others 24/7, you'll you'll break down. And so I think that, you know, again, I underscore that message just constantly, like, you know, taking care of yourself, not selfishness not the same thing.

Annie:

Yeah, that is so important, I think for all of us to, to hear that and really believe it, you know? Yeah, because it's a lot of moms feel that way I feel that way a lot of times is you know, I can't Yeah, I mean, I can spend the money on this, because I want to make sure my kid has, you know, XYZ and yeah, so that's a really good message. And then my final question for you is, and we touched on this briefly. Obviously, we've been going through a pandemic for the past couple of years. And so, and that has definitely put even more pressure on on moms and more stress on moms. In general. Do you have any kind of day to day or a tips for moms on handling or managing the day to day stress? And not, you know, outside of holidays and all that?

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Yeah, I mean, lots of them? I think that's a big question. And yes, I do. I mean, I will go back to the scheduling thing, where I think that is a huge part. It's something that I didn't mention, when I talked about it before, but I'll mention now is that when I ask a moms and talk to them about doing the night before scheduling, I actually asked them to make like an A and B to do list with the A list being things that must get done the next day for their kids for their job if they work for their household, etc. and B being and by the way, on the a list, self care is on there too. And the B list being stuff would be great to get you but you don't have to get you and what I stressed to them is like when you're making your schedule for the next day, like the A list is all that matters. If you can get to the B list. That's great. But really what you want to focus on is The a list and I think that that's a big stress reducer for moms because then they're setting their expectations reasonably, right? Only you as opposed to, oh, well, I have these 40 things that I want to do tomorrow, right, that causes immense stress and causes even more stress when you don't get to those things, right. There's a whole bunch of strategies to you know, we were talking about kind of perfectionism before, like, a whole bunch of strategies, also, in my book aimed at like helping moms not try to do everything perfectly, you know, kind of get comfortable cutting corners, get comfortable, delegating, asking for help is a huge thing. Something I talk about the book constantly in a big theme of my work, I think, along the lines of the sacrificial mother thing, there are moms who feel like I need to do this myself, that this all has to be me, and I can't ask for assistance. And, you know, to me, that is the most foolish thing you can possibly think of, because it is incredibly important that you reach for lifeline when you need it. You know, be it from partner, your parents, your community, I mean, you know, whoever is in your particular support system. So this is kind of general and I talk more specifics in the book, but like being willing to ask for help. And then when you ask for help, asking for something specific. So instead of being like I'm drowning, help me saying, Hey, can you pick up so and so from daycare, and take care of dinner? So I can go for a walk? Hey, can you you know, or whatever you want to ask for help. And you want to be very specific in what you're asking for. So that too, is another thing that I think is really, really critical. And certainly there's there's loads more things in the book that that speak to just the general maternal stress issue, and what we can do to manage it.

Annie:

That's awesome. Well, those are really, really great tips. Thank you so much. I know I learned so much from this conversation and definitely want to try to put some of these these things in action. So yes, thanks for joining us, and definitely feeling like I can tackle the holiday season.

Dr. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco:

Good. I'm glad to hear thank you so much for having me.

Annie:

Have you had a Mom Brain moment? Becoming a mother is a joyful rite of passage, but it can also be overwhelming physically and emotionally. How can you calm the worries, quiet the guilt and be present with yourself and your kids? Learn how in Dr. DiMarco's book Mom Brain: Proven Strategies to Fight the Anxiety, Guilt and Overwhelming Emotions of Motherhood and Relax into Your New Self. She shares science based strategies to help you cope with common challenges and make peace with your transformed identity. You can purchase your copy on Amazon or Guildford Press. Looking for more tips for coping with the stress of motherhood. Visit Dr. DiMarco's website, DrCBTmom.com. Here's what's new at Moms Meet and KIWI magazine. Registration is now open for WOW Summit 22 Virtual. Join us from March 29th through 31st 2022 to gain the knowledge you need and the community you crave to raise a happy, healthy family. Attend educational workshops, learn from compelling speakers, network with like minded moms, and discover new products in our virtual exhibit hall. The best part is it's totally free to attend if you are a member of Moms Meet! There's even a unique track just for bloggers and influencers. Head to wowevents.momsmeet.com to learn more and register. The winter issue of KIWI magazine is here! Discover amazing presents in their meaningful Holiday Gift Guide, get inspired for winter cooking with delicious soups inside, learn how to avoid sneaky toxins in your holiday decor, and so much more. Read it online now at Kiwimagonline.com or on the Issuu app. This holiday season, take a moment for yourself with Happy Buddha Hemp. While self care routines are different for everyone, one way to help you relax and reduce stress is by trying a safe and effective CBD products. Happy Buddha Hemp's 900 milligram Full Spectrum Spagyric CBD tincture is the brand's best selling product for a simple reason. It works. Their spagyric CBD tincture helps reduce anxiety give you a restful night's sleep without a groggy feeling the next morning and lessens stress immediately while also reducing your body's inflammation and reinvigorating your endocannabinoid system. Thanks for listening everyone. Make sure you hit the subscribe button so you don't miss the latest podcast episodes. Next week. We're talking to Plastic Ocean's CEO Julie Andersen about the plastic pollution crisis and what we can do to help. Thanks for conquering healthy living at all ages and stages of life with us