The transition into motherhood can be challenging for new moms. Whether it’s dealing with never-ending “mom guilt”, not feeling confident in oneself, or figuring out whether to return to work, motherhood can feel like you’re constantly in a lose-lose situation.
Join me and Nicole Oren, a life coach for new moms, as we delve into some of the common challenges that moms experience in those first few postpartum years. Have a listen!
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Hey there, you’re listening to the, My Sleeping Baby podcast, which is all about baby and child sleep. I’m so excited to teach you how you can get your little ones sleeping so that you can sleep too and enjoy parenthood to its fullest. I’m Eva Klein, your resident’s sleep expert, mom of three, founder of the Sleep Bible online coaching program, and lover of all things sleep and motherhood. If you’re looking for tangible solutions for your little one sleep woes or you simply want to learn more, this podcast is for you. For more information, check out mysleepingbaby.com and you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook @mysleepingbaby.
Nicole, thank you so much for being here today. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself and what you do?
So thank you so much for having me. So what I do is I’m a life coach for primarily new moms, just like you take us parents to become functioning humans. I really take us from functioning humans to thriving and really help, um, new moms really tune into themselves, figure out who they are. I think that especially the first time around so many of us, um, really go through an sort of an existential crisis, who am I, what am I meant to do with my life? Um, type of scenario and what a lot of us do is we focus all in on motherhood. We pour ourselves into motherhood and then lose touch with ourselves. And I really am all about rediscovering, who we are and what we are meant to do as part of that amazing, the basic premise of that being that you, the mom NADRA here, right?
That obviously your baby is very important. Your baby is your world, but it doesn’t have to also mean that suddenly your needs become irrelevant to the world that you still matter as well. Right?
Exactly. And not only do we still matter, I truly believe that we become better mothers for it. So the more we give to ourselves care for ourselves, chase our own dreams, the better mothers VR. Yes. And so how did you get into this? Like, what’s your background? Um, so my background prior to becoming a certified life coach was really in behavioral assessment. I actually, I did it in the idea if I did it for a consulting agency in Israel, um, behavioral assessment, talent management. And then when I went on maternity leave for, um, when I became a mom for the first time, I felt so stuck because I felt such a disconnect between my desire to really want to be there for my daughter and be a full-time mom and be there for her. And also this desire to really fulfill myself as a woman. And I felt that really push and pull. And that’s what really caused me to do that internal work really self-reflect and start my own business, helping new moms do the same.
Amazing. So what stage are most of these moms in like they have little ones in the zero to two year range, like where, where are they usually at in terms of their mother, her journey when they reach out to you.
So definitely with little kids at home, not every, not all my clients are first-time moms. Um, a few of them actually have a few kids, um, but have spent the last few years really putting their dreams on the side, um, and so forth.
Amazing. And so what would you say are some of the most common struggles that, you know, specific struggles that these moms come to you with?
So first of all, sleep is a real struggle. Um, I really, I wanted to tell you earlier that I think I wouldn’t be where I am without my daughter sleeping consistently. Um, I, I believe only now is she going to daycare? And I think, um, I have, I’ve been seeing clients at night and during nap time. Um, very rarely. And I think sleep is something that a lot of moms struggle with, but specifically the ones that come to me after their kids are asleep or really, you know, just this confusion and this mom guilt in between. I wanted, I want to do more. I want to be more, but I don’t know what that is, but also I, I feel guilty caring for myself.
Right, right, right. So you do a lot of mindset work, you know, working through that mom guilt, because you’re saying like when, when a mom, when some of these moms try and prioritize themselves, they say, no, you know, I need to take some time for myself to do whatever it is. There’s this huge amount of guilt that, well, I should be with my baby all the time. And so trying to work through that, do you think that ha so how does one find a good healthy balance and how do you know if it’s a good balance or if it is, you know, this pendulum swinging too far to the opposite end of either spectrum.
So I’ll tell you what their balance at the end of the day is, how you define it. So what balance looks like for me could be very different than what balance looks like for you and the way, you know, if you feel balanced is really by you, but you’d be learning how to really check in with yourself and learning how to really create that balance for yourself. No matter what goes on. I mean, so many of us right now are doing homeschooling kids at home. I personally haven’t sent my daughter to daycare at all, um, because of the whole COVID situation. And, um, and I want to say that creating that state of balance, even in this chaos is, is the mindset work is the work that we do. And then creating a life that is, is, you know, kind of work-life balance is, is a lot about trial and error, figuring out what kind of schedule works for me, what feels good, what doesn’t feel good and, and being honest with ourselves about, yeah. Yeah.
I mean, and I think that there is nothing wrong with saying, I am not meant to be a stay at home mom and that’s okay. And that doesn’t make me a bad parent or a mom that doesn’t appreciate their kids. I mean, I’m speaking for myself when I say that I’ve always been that mom since day one that I knew would not be home with my kids full time, because that’s just not how I’m wired. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t love my kids. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t mind that I don’t love spending time with them, but what it means is that for me, that is what balance looks like. What balance looks like for me is to be working, whether it’s part-time or full-time, but, you know, have at least, you know, a good chunk of my day set aside to work and work with other adults, because that is what I do.
I love working with other adults and, and have my kids in some form of childcare or nursery program. I mean, you know, now my older ones are in school full-time, but my two year old has been in daycare since he was, I mean, gosh, when he was in his first year, I was sending him to babysitters, you know, for like a few hours here and there, you know, in between his naps. So I could get in my full day of work, but that was kind of always my focus and I, and I’ve spoken to moms that had a similar type of goal that I, that in terms of a setup that I had, but did really feel guilty about it. They felt like, well, you know, they’re only young ones. I should be spending more time with them. And my response is, you know, there’s no, there’s no rule here.
You know, it’s, first of all, I really do believe in quality over quantity because I know a lot of moms who are stay at home, home moms, not because they love it. Not because they want to be this way, not because this is the life that they want, but because they do feel guilty about working and then the end result is that they get burnt out, you know, for me. And I’m sure you find this with a lot of your clients work for me because I, I, I love what I do. It allows me to refill my tank so that when I go go home or when I stay home, I mean, I leave my home, my office and I go out to the hall and I see my kids. I feel I’m invigorated. My tank is filled up because I got some space away to, you know, do what I love and work with other adults so that I then have the time and patience to be able to deal with the, you know, the inevitable part of having a, being a mom with young kids
A thousand percent. And I think there are two things that you said that are key. And one of them is that you love what you do. I think that a big thing that is specifically who I see my clients deal with is when you don’t love what you do and then you, and then you’re faced with, should I go back to that? A lot of us resort to, well, I don’t love what I do enough. So I’m going to just kind of fall into this, stay at home mom role. And then, and then, and then what happens because I’m not a hundred percent in that decision or a hundred percent doing it for the right reasons, quote unquote, then what happens is actually what you, what you mentioned is, you know, that like new moms that are moms that are home and then don’t really love every minute of it don’t have quality time, of course, every minute of it. And so they feel stuck and so they feel confused. So it is that work figuring out what, what do they love? I think every mom, whether she’s a stay at home mom or, or a working mom, it doesn’t matter. All of us deserve an outlet that is ours.
Yeah. Yes, yes, yes, yes. A hundred percent. And I can tell you that, you know, I have a lot of, I have a lot of friends who are stay at home moms and they love it and, you know, good for them. I mean, they’re, that’s just what they are meant to do. And that’s fantastic. And I think that it’s just important to recognize, acknowledge and respect the fact that we are all wired differently. And there really isn’t one specific way of approaching motherhood that is inherently superior, you know, over the other. And I do just want to mention that, you know, I, I remember when I became a mom for, you know, the very first time I had a well-intentioned friend of mine talk about a specific parenting expert who, by the way, I, I don’t listen to it. Cause I don’t, I don’t really like this person’s advice.
But one thing that this person says, this person believes that it is best for kids to be home with their moms for the first three to four years of their life, because those are those formative years. And that’s when, you know, it should be really, really important for them to be home, you know, with their parents and you know what, thankfully I, and that works for my friend, thankfully I was comfortable enough in my skin to go, okay, thanks. I hear that next move on. You know, cause I knew that there were just as many experts out there that would say, uh, yeah, I agree. Those are formative years. And guess what, there are some wonderful teachers and wonderful nursery school staff that are also going to be a wonderful influence on your very young child during their formative years. And I remember I attended this parents, this very intensive parenting workshop a couple of years ago where people specifically asked her she’s a very well, well known psychologist in Israel actually.
And so they asked her her opinion on having kids home versus, you know, sending them to school during those formative years. And her response was that from what she has seen in her decades of working in education and psychology and parenting and whatnot, that she hasn’t found any pattern between the children who are home and that, you know, until three, four years old versus the children who go to nursery school or daycare or whatnot. And then the children who later on are thriving versus the children are struggling. She’s like, there’s no pattern here because at the end of the day, it’s not, what’s relevant. You know, what’s relevant here to the child’s wellbeing is the stability of the home. And you can ultimately have a stable home regardless of whether or not you use childcare for your little one, um, when they’re in those formative years. And so at the end of the day, what did she say to what’s best for you? What’s best for you is going to be best for your kid. And it’s all gonna work out and don’t do something if it doesn’t feel right for you, just because some random parenting expert says, Oh, this is the right way to raise your kids for the next three to four years. These are some massive lifestyle changes that you should have to make in the name of raising an emotionally healthy child.
I don’t think vastly. And that’s what upsets me about your story earlier, because another mom could, could have been told that, and then as a result would have made decisions based on hearing that and not really feeling so aligned with her decision. Yeah. And then, and then the result is she wouldn’t necessarily have been such a happy mom. And I think that’s so important because so many of us, we all had that happen to us. Um, and so many of us are so influenced by what we’re told and by especially when it become, when it comes to our parenting and especially the first time around we’re so influenced by what we’re told. Yes. Yeah,
I agree. I agree. Okay. So a really big struggle you’re saying is to help moms find that balance, you know, balancing time with their kids versus work and how to go about that specific balancing act. What would you say is another very common challenge that your people have during these first few years of mothers?
I would say confidence. I think that new motherhood opens us up and changes us in such a, in such a profound way that a lot of that, a lot of my clients really kind of feel out of touch with themselves and then have these big dreams and have these visions, but don’t ha don’t yet have the confidence to do it. So a lot of the work that I do is about believing in yourself, taking a lot of action towards your dreams and towards what you want for yourself and, um, working on that confidence. Yeah.
That’s a big one because I know, I know when my, when my oldest was a baby, um, I went, I went back to work when she was five months, which here in Canada is very, very early. Now I know that when you compare it to, you know, the United States where they have six weeks of maternity leave, it seems like the best thing ever. But you know, my, so my, my story with her was, so I gave birth to her shortly after finishing law school. I’m a lawyer by training. I know it was quite the pivot. And so, but the way it works here in Ontario is to get called to the bar, have to do what’s called an articling term, which is a 10 month paid internship. And so happens to be at the time. I mean, it still is getting an articling position is fairly competitive.
And I happen to, I miraculously landed an articling position in, in a government office. That happens to be exactly what I was looking for. Um, and I interviewed for this position when I was seven and a half months pregnant and they still ended up hiring me. I know to this day, it’s just like, how did I possibly land that? How did I get it over hundreds of other people? I have no idea, but, um, because of this amazing opportunity, I, I obviously took it and they, it was, they allowed me to start my position a little bit later than I was supposed to, you know, because I was having a baby. Um, but the end result was, you know, here in Canada, culturally, it’s very normal for people to take a full 12 months. Maybe they go back early, quote, unquote early. And they go back after, you know, 10 months, which is really early five months when I told people what I was doing, they were going, wow, Oh, that’s so early, Oh, that’s going to be so hard for you.
And I will admit it actually, wasn’t going to be hard for me. But then when people started telling me, Oh, that’s so hard, your little one’s going to be so little. That was when I went, wait a second, am I doing the right thing here? And then I started second guessing myself, is there something wrong with me? But you know what honestly really helps me, but really helped was the fact that this was such a blessing. My sister law gave birth to her first baby, also a girl the day after me. So we were we’re there. They were literally, they were literally born within a day of each other. Um, but she was living in the United States or her and my brother-in-law. They still do. They live in the U S and, uh, and she’s a teacher. And so because of, and so she was also, her baby was also born in may, just like mine.
And so the way that the year, the way that it pans out, it just meant that she gave birth, like right as the school year was coming to an end. And so she was able to have a three month chunk of time off before going back to work that following August or September. And she was so happy about that because normally she would only have six weeks off. And so from her perspective, she’s going, wow, five months. That’s amazing. I’m so thrilled that I, that I have three because normally I would only get six weeks. And it happens to be that with her other kids, she took off six weeks. And then that was the end of that. And so hearing her look at like my glass half full made me go, yeah, you know what? This is totally fine, because actually happened to be that my husband took some, took some time off work here.
We have parental leave. So my husband was able to take a little bit of time off of work so that he could be home with her full time. And, uh, and so she wasn’t really in daycare. And so she was, you know, eight, eight and a half months, but it, I think without my American kind of, you know, giving me that reality check and only hearing from other Canadian moms about how sad it is for me to be going back to work full time with a five month old baby at home, I honestly would have been second guessing myself constantly. I don’t think it would have been enough for me to let say, quit my job, because the consequences of that would have been massive. But I think that I would have been going through the motions, feeling a huge amount of regret and feeling a huge amount of shame around my decision, but having that perspective allowed me to go, yeah, that’s no, it’s really not so hard, but thanks for your compassion, but we’re all doing just fine here because it happened to be my articling job was amazing and my boss was fantastic and my colleagues were wonderful and it was very intellectually stimulating work work that I loved, but without it could have just as easily majorly backfired and been a really awful experience.
So as somebody that was a first time mom, nine years ago, but it really feels like it was yesterday to a huge extent. Cause I’m sort of in denial about how old I am right now. Um, I can absolutely relate that the confidence is something that can easily tear you up.
Exactly. And it also just shows us that it’s all about perspective because also when you said to me, people get a year off, I was like, wow. A ton of time and five months also to me sounds like a lot of time, but I guess it’s all about perspective and context. And I think it’s so important also as mothers to really pay attention how we, how we react to other mothers and how we say, you know, like how we don’t put in our own drama and our own opinions into the comments that we say to others. Like, Oh, that’s so sad. Yes.
Yeah, exactly. Because I remember afterwards looking back and going, well, I didn’t really ask you for your opinion on my decision to go back to work. My baby is five months. So I don’t know why you think that this is suddenly a situation where you can offer it. I think that’s something kind of unique about, you know, the worlds of motherhood, where there is this unwritten rule that, where people think that they are now that you’re a mom or you have a baby and especially your first time mom, that you’re allowed to give a first time on any amount of unsolicited advice. Right. Exactly. And it’s pretty awful like that. I, the way I look at it, would you, would you give anyone else in any other stage of life, unsolicited advice? Probably not to the same extent.
No. And that’s also to be completely honest, that’s something that I, I always really wanted to help new moms because I felt so stuck. And I said, I don’t want anyone to ever interpret me as a parent telling you how to parent, because at the end of the day, I’m just helping you make your decisions the way you want to make them. Um, and by no means inflicting my opinions onto that. Um, and I think that, that it’s so important. Yes, that’s so,
So, so huge. Okay. So tell me the third thing that you find is a really big struggle or pain points for moms and those first three years.
I think exactly what we just touched on really knowing what your decisions are and knowing, and, and standing behind those decisions kind of parenting on your terms, because there are so many opinions out there this is best, and that is best. And to do this and not to do that. And so many voices that we have from the people in our lives that of course are well-intended, um, and really just solidifying on your stance as a mother and your sense as a woman and what you want for yourself and standing behind yourself 100%. Yeah.
And I think on that note, it’s, I would just add, um, how important it is to be very careful and be very protective of who you let into your inner circles. Because I found that, you know, before I was a mom, I, you know, I had friends from, you know, all over the place, but when you become a mom and obviously, you know, no matter what this baby is going to take up a big chunk of your energy, right. And it is hard and it is challenging and it’s incredibly rewarding, but it has its hard moments. And, and I saw very early on that, the stamina that I had to deal with, people that maybe didn’t have the best of intentions, all of a sudden was incredibly draining on me. And I think that we have to be very, very careful who we let into those inner circles and how many of them are what I like to, you know, energy draining versus invigorating.
You, you know, are they, I heard a term somewhere. I can’t remember which book I read it in, but you know, is this person that’s in your life? Is it a battery drainer or a battery charger? Right. And you have to be incredibly careful of your emotional mental sources of energy. And I, I did find that becoming a mom was that stage where I kind of slowly but surely, you know, not even so much cut people out of my life, but like distanced myself from people that I found were just way too draining on me. And it wasn’t a reciprocal relationship. It wasn’t, you know, a give and take. It was just lots of take, take, take. And that level of negativity, I just don’t have room in my life for, and I, and I hear about that sort of thing, just, you know, working with my own clients, you know, hearing from them, talk about, you know, friends of theirs or acquaintance of their acquaintances, of theirs that are just incredibly exhausting to be around.
And so my response to them is, well then why do you still hang out with them? You know, I think the, what I love about being a mom is that it’s not like being in elementary school or middle school where you are limited, your friendship, your friendships are limited to the however many people in your class or your grade, and then that’s it, right? And you’re stuck with those people every single day, no matter what, even if you can’t stand them, you know, that sucks that part of school, you know, can definitely be annoying. But the good news is that we’re not in school anymore. This isn’t elementary school, this isn’t high school. If someone’s driving you up the wall and they’re draining you of your precious energy sources, you can distance yourself from them. You don’t have to see them in math class every single day. You can distance, you can politely decline an invitation to get together and then go and find yourself, make friends with somebody else that actually makes you feel good and, and adds positivity into your life instead of draining you. So that for me anyways, was a very, very big lesson that I had to learn during those first few years of motherhood, for sure,
A thousand percent. And I think a lot of what I do is really curating a life. And even in the spaces that we live in, that reflects who you want to be. So not even who you are now, but does the future version of you want to be friends with that person that makes you feel this way? Yes. And I agree, but also there are certain people in our lives like, um, mother-in-laws for many of my clients, right? You can’t, you will have to see them in math class or, um, and hear those comments, but it does come down to really even role-playing it ahead of time and thinking about what you just standing your ground and standing in your truth, um, in terms of what you want to do and how you want to do it.
Yes. Yeah. Mother mother-in-law’s come up a lot with my clients, you know, they’ll, they’ll say to me, you know, my mother-in-law, she doesn’t understand why we have to leave dinner early to put the baby to bed. And, you know, my response is, will it, does she have to understand, like, is that, does she have to agree with everything that you’re saying, no, she doesn’t. Does your mother needs to agree with everything that you’re doing? You know, at the end of the day, your parents, your in-laws already raised their, they’re done the child rearing years. Most, most likely they’re done with that. And now it’s your turn. And their role is the grandparent. And as the grandparent, it’s not their job to decide if your kid goes to bed early or stays up an hour past their bedtime, namely, because they’re not the ones that are going to deal with the consequences of keeping your kid up an hour past their bedtime. So having those, you know, loving but healthy boundaries is, is a conversation that comes up with my clients constantly.
Yeah. All the time. And I agree. It’s so important to ask those, like, does it really matter because our brain likes to use people like that as examples. Like it’s something that we learn in coaching that like kind of, we have this primal need to be a part of the tack and to be liked by everyone and for everyone to agree with us. So when a mother-in-law or a mother or father says like, Oh, why are you leaving early? Like, why are you doing that? Or for example, we’re prime to react to that negatively, but we don’t have to.
Yeah. And think, well, maybe I’m doing something wrong or maybe I’m doing something crazy here by getting my kid down for bed early. If everyone else, if my whole family’s telling me that I’m nuts. And really, and you’re absolutely right, that there is this primal need for us to be in a community of other like-minded people. Um, but your family doesn’t always have to serve your con that aspect of the community that you need. Your family is going to give you that unconditional love, which is wonderful. But in terms of finding a community of other like-minded parents, they exist, they exist out there. You just have to find them.
Exactly. And I think that’s, that’s like your community because at the end of the day, it’s a community of parents that are training their kids to sleep. And everybody has the same goal in mind. And it’s so important, especially for the different parts of our lives to really create those communities for the different aspects and our different goals. Yeah.
No one thing that, you know, some of the moms, when I, when I get feedback about my sleep Bible program, a really big compliment that I get from my members is about the Facebook group. Because while it’s wonderful to be a part of these, you know, massive, large 30,000 person, mom, you know, local mom, Facebook groups, that it can be a bit of a double-edged sword because on the one hand, yeah, it’s great. If you want recommendations for a, a chiropractor, a pediatrician, you know, you are a dentist or, or, you know, feedback on something that isn’t so sensitive, you can get tons and tons of feedback and recommendations from people. But then on the other hand, when you’re talking about something like sleep training, which is something contentious, I hate the fact that it’s contentious. Um, I think that it’s dumb that it’s very contentious, but it is one of those hot button topics.
It can feel very unsafe for a mom, especially a new mom to be posting a sleep related question because she’s bound to get feedback like, well, why are you training your kids asleep? Your kid? Isn’t an animal. You know, why, why not just lie down next to them? Are you lazy? You don’t have the time. You don’t want to put in the effort. And I’ve seen these types of posts get incredibly nasty. But knowing that in my group, everybody is like-minded because everybody’s in my program, obviously know when things let otherwise they wouldn’t be joining my program. It’s it’s 100% safe to be posting, whatever sleep question you want to be posting. And you know that you’re not going to see that get any negative feedback, um, that it’s 100% positive and welcoming, and there have been some real good friendships that have come out of it.
That’s incredible. That really is incredible. I think it’s important for all of us to remember in any area of life to really create the communities around the goals that we have around our values and not have one big community of everyone agreeing with everything we do. Yeah.
Yeah. Cause it’s just not possible. And that’s okay. Right. You know, everybody, I think it’s also fine to have people that do things differently than you do, but there needs to be that mutual respect. And the problem is that, for example, when it comes to this sleep training piece, there’s a very big difference between me being friends with someone who doesn’t sleep, train her kids who co-sleep two bed shares and it works for her, but she never says anything about the fact that I sleep train. And it’s just a matter of us doing our own thing, me respecting her, her respecting me and us loving each other nonetheless, versus a very common scenario that clients of mine will tell me where, you know, the mom will say, Oh yeah, that’s totally fine. But I just, I couldn’t do that to my kid. Cause I just, I love, I love them too much to be able to do that to my kid.
You know, those back, those back sided, passive aggressive comments that is like done cut, ignore block. Like I’m going to be ghosting you at that point. And I think that that’s, that’s the key difference. You don’t have to find friends that do exactly everything that have the same political beliefs as you and, and, and live in the exact same type of houses you and, and do the exact, make the exact same parenting choices do you do, but there needs to be that level of respect. And when you see those, when you experience those passive aggressive comments, that’s going to, that’s going to wear you down. It will. And that is going to eat away at your energy reserves that belong elsewhere. You know, that belong that there are people, you know, whether it’s your partner, your kid, your job for your own self care, like you need that energy for yourself. Don’t bother trying to, you know, whether the discomfort of hearing and experiencing those passive aggressive comments. That’s kind of the litmus test. If you ask me
A thousand percent and I think we all have a responsibility to really be an example of not doing that, of respecting others for their opinions, doing our own thing in the process.
Yeah. Amazing. Thank you so much for being here, Nicole. So tell me if anyone wants to reach out, wants to connect, wants more of you in their life, where can they find you?
So first of all, thank you so much for having me, um, uh, you can me at nicoleoren.com, um, N I C O L E O R E N.com or @nicoleorencoaching on Instagram.
Thank you so much, Nicole. Thanks guys for listening. Have a great day. Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, leave a review and share this episode with a friend who can benefit from it. I also love hearing from my listeners. So feel free to DM me on Instagram @mysleepingbaby, or send me an email at email@example.com until next time have a wonderful restful nights.
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