Our guest on Fulfilled – The Podcast is Dr. Brooke Weinstein! You may know her as the curly haired Occupational Therapist that is shaking her butt and sharing her wisdom all over the internet. She’s inspiring other moms, coaching them, taking care of herself and sharing her hot mess express life.
Brooke is self-described a coach, friend, sister, Mama expert, oh-by-the-way a Doctor of Pediatric Occupational therapy and your new loudest most vibrant cheerleader. She helps Mama’s to go deep within, to learn to trust their gut and to live the life they crave. Brooke and I sat down and talked about so many things plaguing modern moms: from perfectionism, to learning to regulate your emotions, from knowing when and how to make big transitions. Brooke shares her heart and her incredible kindness and wisdom with us. This is an episode you are not going to want to miss if you’ve been feeling the pressure of motherhood and the squeeze of your schedule.
She vulnerably shares her journey with working in Pediatric OT, starting her own practice, and selling her practice, taking the pause she needed and taking time off to process her burnout and overwhelm. Moms are exhausted, tired, overwhelmed, and utterly burned out. We are expected to work like computers and live in the state of fight or flight. We are running at the redline and constantly overwhelmed, over-scheduled and it’s affecting our mental health and our kids.
Dr. Brooke now teaches parents to understand their own sensory systems, regulating their own emotions and learning how to model this for our kids. Your brain and body knows how to regulate itself. You have ALL the tools that you need to thrive and exist in this world. What we need to do it to tap into our emotions, understand if we want to flight (run away, move away from the stimuli) or fight (to stay, regulate our emotions and deal with the situation). Dr. Weinstein’s teachings is based on a framework that helps moms to regulate their emotions in the moment.
Our brains are craving structure, stability and control. The same is true for our children. Understanding our own emotions, our own brain cravings and getting a handle on these is vital for modeling this for the kids.
Brooke is a ruthless advocate of asking our children how they are feeling instead of telling them how to feel. This is “How are you feeling, Johnny?” vs. our reflexive (or what our parents did) saying “You’re ok, Johnny.”
We unpack and breakdown the stories that we are telling ourselves as moms. These stories aren’t reality and these stories aren’t on par with how life really goes and the bumps and bruises along the way.
Here’s the thing about becoming a mother (and that feeling that we have lost the identity of who we were before becoming a mom). We struggle with this transition from woman to mother because, as a society and as individuals we aren’t skilled in mourning the loss of the human being we were before the switch flipped and we became a mom.
Mother’s, women, are living under an immense amount of pressure. Society is telling us that we have to look like Barbie, brains and wit like Hillary Clinton, and come all wrapped up in a homemaker Martha Stewart package. We are, from expectations of others and from our own expectations, supposed to be the default “caretakers” and since society was telling us that… we take on these roles. Dr. Brooke highlights how women are bad ass. When we take on those tasks, we own them, we rock them… even at the detriment of our own health and sanity.
We feel, even when we are overwhelmed and drowning in these tasks. We have this idea in our mind that if we ask for help from our partners, from our mothers, from our friends and from our village, we are weak. We have told us the story that by asking for help indicates that we are weak and we are failing at motherhood.
Here’s what to do when you are feeling this emotions bubbling up here’s what you can do:
- Ask yourself how you are feeling. Complete this sentence: I feel ________.
- Ask yourself where you are feeling this in your body? Are your fists tight, are your shoulders tense, is your jaw clenches?
- Ask yourself what you need in that moment.
- How can you get what you need?
It looks like this:
I feel sad, I need a hug.
I feel angry, I need to go on a run.
I feel frustrated, I need to walk away.
It’s going to vary day-to-day. It’s going to take practice to tap into how you are feeling and also what you need. Your body and your mind need care and the blessings that come from movement and time taking care of these.
Then, Brooke works with her clients to walk through these steps to figure out what you need. Then we work to build boundaries and own your NO when you aren’t feeling it. Being honest about your feelings, being assertive about your needs, being clear on how things are and what you can do to make them better.
The vision is to empower our children to own their voice, speak their needs, and request what it is they need in the moments everywhere from the playground to the playroom at home. Learning this is necessary for us, our health and sanity, and also to share with our children so they know how to identify their emotions, figure out what they need and go and get it!
A Note on Perfection: We need more women saying – I’m a hot mess and a it’s ok for you to be your own hot mess express.