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Jan. 9, 2023

Episode 81: Working Moms and Mom Guilt with Dr. Susan Landers


Are you a working mom? Do you suffer from mom guilt? And is that guilt you’re feeling affecting your relationships with your family? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this episode is a MUST listen! Tune in as DJ and Dr. Susan Landers discuss the challenges of being a working mother; the unbelievable pressure faced by today’s parents including when to cut off work, how to stop worrying and how to turn on family time… and ultimately YOU time!

Dr. Susan Landers is a neonatologist who worked full-time in the NICU for over thirty years and raised three children to young adulthood. She achieved many academic and professional accomplishments, and she encountered challenges along the way, both in her career and in her mothering. She loves to tell stories that reassure younger mothers to know that they, too, can be a “good enough mother” especially if they work full-time. She supports mothers with her social media posts, free resources, and her blog. She also cautions physicians and nurses - who might be experiencing serious burnout – about the ways in which it affects their lives and their relationships, and the many ways to treat and recover from burnout. Her new book is “So Many Babies: My Life Balancing a Busy Medical Career and Motherhood.”

TIMESTAMPS
• [11:03] Susan shares the challenges of being a working mother.
• [11:24] “None of us is perfect. We all try to do the very best that we can. We make lots of mistakes. If we're lucky, we have a spouse or a partner who will help us…”
• [22:37] DJ discusses building a relationship with your spouse based on equality
• [36:50] “Some of them are in after school activities three, four or five days a week. That's too much. And it's not only too much for the child, it's too much for the parents…”

For more information on the Imperfect Heroes podcast, visit:  https://www.imperfectheroespodcast.com/

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Dr. Susan Landers -
Website: https://susanlandersmd.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanlandersmd
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Facebook: https://facebook.com/susanlandersmd
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LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susan-landersmd/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susanlberry/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/So-Many-Babies-Balancing-Motherhood/dp/1631954504

Transcript

DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. 

You're listening to Episode 81 of Imperfect Heroes - Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host, DJ Stutz. Dr. Susan Landers is a neonatologist, who worked full time in the NICU NICU that is the newborn intensive care unit for over 30 years and raised three children to young adulthood. In her work, she achieved many academic and professional accomplishments. And she encountered challenges along the way, both in her career and in her mothering. She loves to tell stories that reassure younger mothers to know that they too, can be a good enough mother, especially if they work full time. She supports mothers with her social media posts for free resources and her blog. Her new book is so many babies, my life balancing a busy medical career and motherhood. And it's a great book, there's so much to learn. So let's get started.

We are at the beginning of a new year, a time for trying new things and accomplishing new challenges. If you're listening to this podcast, you are already investing time in your family and working to raise independent, kind and successful children. You know that having someone to talk to about the best practices and challenges related to how children develop provides you with ideas that you can use today, tomorrow, next week. And as your children continue to grow. What if you could engage with a mother of five, who was an early childhood specialist with more than 20 years of classroom experience, committed to supporting you to discover your parenting style, identified behavioral triggers, and learn about your children's emotional development with the focus on enhancing communication? I would welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation with you. So just click on my calendar link in the show notes to book a free 50 minute discovery call. So that I can learn more about your concerns and goals to share recommendations about how to create a home environment where you and your children can strengthen your relationships and celebrate happiness and peace. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home when my kids were little. And I can tell you there were times when it was exhausting. And I often thought of moms who were working outside of the home. And I couldn't imagine how they managed it all. I was going to college to further my education, often taking night classes. So my husband could be with the kids. Or I had a neighbor who would watch my youngest when the others finally started school and I could take some day classes. Sometimes I would watch the children or friends after school until their parents would get home and trying to manage all of that, along with my volunteer work in the PTA. And at church could just wear me out. I always had friends who had young kids and were working at full time jobs. And I would listen as they would share their worries about how they felt they were missing out on an important time with their little ones. And I remember thinking your kids are great. What are you worried about? I feel bad for the guilt that they were feeling and what that did to how they felt about themselves and how that affected their relationship with their family. Well, Susan Landers totally gets all of this. She had an important career saving lives and she had three little kids at home. And while working to save the smallest and sickest babies, she also worked with moms who were very emotional and giving their all toward the health of their baby. Often they would have to go back to work while their child was still in the hospital. Other times there were older kids at home, and the parents were torn between meeting the needs of their baby and their older kiddos. 

In this episode, Susan shares about her own mom guilt trying to do it all and being torn between work and home. She is amazing. Let's listen. Welcome everyone and I'm so excited that you chose to spend this time with us today. Today I have an exciting guest. Her name is Susan Landers, Dr. Susan Landers. And she is a pediatrician and we have some exciting things to talk about about moms and the expectations we set on one another and on ourselves. So Dr. Landers, would you like to talk to us a little bit about what you do and what you've got going on?

Dr. Susan Landers  5:26  
Sure. I practice neonatology for 35 years. That is intensive care medicine in the neonatal intensive care unit. After my pediatric residency training, I did an additional three years of training in neonatology and I worked at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston. I loved being a neonatologist. I love taking care, sick babies, I especially love talking to the mom. Some of them were high risk, some of them had unexpectedly sick full term babies. Some of them knew that they would need the NICU with twins or triplets. But I always found my connection to moms in the NICU to be sustaining in a way it's very rewarding for me. So it wasn't just working ventilators prescribing medicines, giving treatment, doing procedures, it was also getting to know the family being part of a family. Some of the babies in the NICU are quite tiny, and they stay in the hospital a long time for five, six months. And that gave me a long time to get to know families. And some families I felt like I was a part of. So I had a profession. That was literally wonderful. I loved it. It was so rewarding as also married to a physician and pediatric nephrologist.

DJ Stutz  6:58  
What is the nephrologist,

Dr. Susan Landers  7:01  
they he takes care of kidney diseases. Children are on dialysis, not very many of them, but some of them are and some of them end up getting transplanted. I met my husband right after my training. And I felt really, really good about being a neonatologist and being married and my professional growth was right on trajectory right where I wanted to be. And then we had children. My first pregnancy was very high risk, very abnormal. I went into premature labor at 25 weeks gestation. I was in the hospital for several weeks on lots of medicines. And it taught me a wonderful lesson. I'll never forget how helpless I felt having threatened premature delivery. Being the patient, I'd never been the patient before I'd always been the doctor. And here I was trying to not have a premature baby. And it was such a great experience for me. And it gave me even more empathy. For the premium moms that I worked with later. We were fortunate our son did not deliver until 35 weeks gestation. So he was a big preemie. He was fine. He wasn't sick. And that's when the really interesting parts of my life began. That's when I learned how to be a working mother. And I like to talk about my struggles as a working mother, because I think so many working moms these days, are putting unusually high expectations on themselves, just like I did. I started out wanting to be a perfect mother and I wanted to know what to do about every single problem whether it was breastfeeding or tantrums, or Bedwetting, or whatever it was, I was going to deal with it. Well, having a full time career and being a working mom, is tough. It's tough for anybody. You don't have to be a doctor for it to be tough for you, and you're away from your family. You're not at home with your children, whether they're in daycare, or whether you have a nanny, we were privileged enough to be able to afford a nanny, or whether your mother in law is taking care of your kid. It's not you you're at work, you're doing a job because hopefully you like the job and you need the money. And you're not where you think you need to be in your Mother Brain. Your mother brain tells you I should be there. I should not miss any milestones. I should know what to do when to call the pediatrician when to tough it out. I should know how to get help from my husband when I need it. I didn't know any of that. Same. And I'll never forget. One morning David had a fever. He was probably two, two and a half. And us calling a pediatrician and got the answering service call the hospital tried to get somebody covered for me. I was supposed to go to work. My husband came downstairs, put on his white coat and started heading for the front door. I said, Where are you going? I said, he said, I'm going to work. I said, What about me, David is sick, I, you know, I've got to get a babysitter and take him to the dock. And he said, You're gonna take care of it, you always do. That was for me, the single most important rude awakening. What the trap that working mothers set for themselves. They try to do everything. They spread themselves too thin, at least I did. And they do not ask for help, often enough. So in my journey, after retirement, I wrote a book and I wrote a book about all my challenges. Being a working mother. The name of my book is so many babies. But the book was written to reassure other working mothers, that none of us is perfect. We all try to do the very best that we can. We make lots of mistakes. If we're lucky, we have a spouse or a partner who will help us if we're lucky, we have an extended family who comes and Bails us out. If we're fortunate, we have co workers that we trust, and we can talk to about our children, our spouses. But all those things about being a working mom, I had to figure out on my own, my mother worked, but it didn't, it didn't sink into my brain, that she was doing those other things. She was an elementary school librarian. She worked every day, but she was always home when we got home from school in the afternoon. And so my life started out as a working mother really trying to juggle my work schedule in the NICU and having little kids and David was three when I had and, and was four when I had Laura near the age of 40. And you know, anybody with three kids knows, it's pretty close to chaos a lot of the time. And that's just the way it is the three children, you and if you don't have a spouse or a partner who helps you, and you don't have good childcare, you're thinking, and God bless them single mothers. I don't know how they do it. I think they're angels. I think they are, they are blessed from heaven because they manage so much more than working mothers who are married or have a partner. And so I feel like DJ, I spent my first 10 years of being a working mom, just figuring out how to do it, how to cut off work, how to turn on childcare, and a free weekend, how to stop worrying about a research project or paper, or a difficult patient, how to turn on family time, me time. When am I going to exercise, you know, I got to take care of myself, I can't just take care of my children at work and my children at home. And so what I think mothers are doing today is what I did. They're trying to do everything. They're trying to be perfect. They're trying to hold down a job. They're trying to take care of their kids do the best they can during the pandemic, oh my god. I cannot imagine teaching homeschooling a child I would not have a clue how to start doing that. For the moms who had to do that. Keep themselves that keep up with their kids virtual learning, do all the household chores, their husband was also at home and they had a job. Unbelievable pressures and challenges. The other thing about the pandemic other than children being in our laps all day long was that I think the day we became more isolated Yeah, I think families hunkered down, and especially working moms that you know, they kind of got their rhythm and who's gonna do suffer and who's gonna do life and when are you working and when am I working for those who worked remotely and there weren't neighbors and they didn't say grandparents And they didn't see co workers. And so we got used to doing things on our own. And if we were lucky, we had a spouse and health. So in my mind, what I see going on now with working mothers, is we're trying to do everything by ourselves. And sometimes we fail. And then we feel guilty for having tried. And I'm here to tell you, and I know you've heard from DJ before. We make mistakes, parents make mistakes, mother, love their children, they want to do what's best for their children, but we all make mistakes, we all make certain challenges. Some way succeeds, and we don't. And I like to give permission to younger working mothers, to take it easier on themselves, to give themselves a break, to recognize that by working full time, and being a mother, they're going to be a good enough mother. The term good enough mother came back, I think it came out in the 40s or 50s. But we don't talk about it enough. And social media doesn't talk about it at all. I think what young women are seeing on social media is perfect motherhood, the picture of the perfect mother breastfeeding her baby looking like she's got makeup on. And she's well rested the picture of the perfect mother with toddlers who are well mannered and never pitch fit and don't dump ice cream in the car. And that you know, those pictures on social media that those are not reality. Reality is raising children is messy.

It's challenging, we're tired, we're sleeping. We might be a little angry, or mental. Yeah, you know, we might want to yell at our kids. And all of that is perfectly normal. But we're not letting ourselves see that. among our peers. We're not sharing that. I don't think enough with our peers. What do you think about that? DJ?

DJ Stutz  17:26  
I think it varies from person to person. I do think that we as moms have I don't know if it's genetic or what. But we do tend to be really hard on ourselves. And even, we're doing really well in our kid gets in trouble at school. We take it very personally. Right. And so, sometimes we don't even handle that. Well, because we're taking it so personally, instead of Oh, I wonder what happened here. Right. And then I see some others that are so I don't know what the word is. But they're like, I need me time. I need me time I need Ito and I have dealt with some of the parents that I coached not often, but that we're so into. But I have to have me time. And why are my kids going crazy? Well, you know, there's a balance you Yeah, there's a balance, there's a balance. But I do think that we tend to blame. And then your kids grow up. And they make decisions that you would not agree with. And then you're thinking, Where did I go wrong? Right. And so I think that's an inherent thing. And I love what you said about having that foundation of friends and family, that co workers that you can count on. I think it's also important for you to have friends and families. You can count on them to be honest with you, you know, like does this dress make me look that? Yeah, don't wear that.

Dr. Susan Landers  19:16  
My daughter showed signs of anxiety as early as age four.

DJ Stutz  19:22  
I have that too. We had moved to a

Dr. Susan Landers  19:25  
new city and she would wake up in the middle of the night and bring their pillow and her blanket down and lay down next to the bed on the floor next to the next my bed and she did that for months. And later on her preschool teacher told me she was so scared that she would sit in the teacher's lap. And I thought Man, I sure we're set teacher told me that but when my daughter started complaining about burglars and robbers, Mom, I'm scared of robbers and burglars. We would walk around the house out to check the windows who check the doors. And I would say everything say for Okay, um, I put her to bed, and then she'd get up in the middle of the night and want to be close to me. And you know what I did the next day. Besides Senator school, I got up and I went to work full time, a lot of work 50 hours a week or more. And in retrospect, the reason I'm telling this story is that there are times in our lives where our children need us more, and needed me more during that time. And I should have known as a mom and a pediatrician, there's the guilt thing, again, I should have known, this kid's just not adjusting well, and I need to spend a little more time with her and drop her off at school or pick her up at school or go have lunch with their school are all the things that we try to do to make our children feel better about being separated from us. And so it's things like that, that I share, so that other women will know, when you're trying to balance work and raising a family. We all make mistakes, we all make choices about work, and children, and self care included in our partners. And sometimes those choices aren't good. And sometimes those choices turn out wrong. That's the mean, we're a bad mother. I mean, I loved my daughter. And there were many, many years after that, that she didn't have min much anxiety, and we were together. And we are still very close. She's 35 and has to have her own kids. And we're very close. But I wish in retrospect that I had not worked so much when she was having that really anxious time. So the message here is that as we make decisions as mothers, about our children, we have to remember that our kids do need us and we do love our children. And there may be times when we want to pull back on work, when we might want to say to our husband, wow, I really need help with this. I'm not having a good time handling this. And my child needs a little more time with both of us. I don't think we're asking for help, as you said, from our co workers, our friends and our family quite enough. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  22:37  
I think too, when we're setting the expectation, and this is something that we don't really teach our kids anymore, about how to build a relationship based on and I, I when I say equality, I don't mean sameness. I don't think that the husband has to be the same as the woman and we all have different abilities, different responsibilities. But it doesn't mean any one set is less than the other. So my husband who was the youngest of nine kids. And as I got to know, so when I met him, his mom and my grandma, were good friends. And it took me a while to realize, yeah, yeah, yeah, he has a sister that's just a couple years younger than my mom. So they were raised like on Sunday, they'd have their big Sunday dinner, right? The girls would stay in and do the dishes and clean up and the boys went in the back and played football. And that's just how it worked. My family, we all had to kick in, or we got kicked, right. And so when I first got married, gosh, we'd probably been married maybe four months, not long. And I'd made dinner and I was in the kitchen cleaning up. And my husband just went and sat on a couch. No one was watching TV. Hey, bad. Like to watch two, why don't you come in and out me? Literally said that's woman's work. No, he did. He did. And he hasn't said it since and we've been married for four years. But yeah, I said, Oh, really? Well, I'm not touching these. This kitchen will be clean when you clean it. And because I had I don't know that clarity of thought or clarity of expectation. And I laid that down early. He saw he's been great. He does right as a kid. Didn't whatever. I think sometimes though we come into a marriage, and we're young, and we're excited, and we're happy, and we let things slide. And we don't need to get angry and yell about it. But we do need to say, Hey, this is an expectation.

Dr. Susan Landers  25:15  
So I was really lucky, because my husband is a great cook. And he loved to cook. And His thing was grocery shopping, and cooking. And he taught all the kids how to cook. And I did everything else. You know, the pediatrician, the orthodontist, the nanny, the teachers, the sports teams, the whole gamut of all the other stuff. And he would say, I think was pretty well divided. And I said, I need to I feel bad that I don't cook as much as you do. And the kids said, Oh, Mom, we don't like your cooking. We like dad's cooking a lot better. Okay, okay, but, but when they wanted somebody to go to their school, play, or meet the teacher, it was mom, you have to be there, right. But my daughter ended up marrying a chef. And he also does all the cooking is hilarious. It says if we created this generational trend, it's okay if a working mom doesn't buy groceries, or cook, because she does all this other stuff. But anyway, that's a little bit of a digression. You know, recent surveys have shown that for every one hour that men do housework, or childcare, the woman does five hours. I believe that that is astonishing. And I want your listeners, think about that. You are working five times more with household chores and childcare than your husband or partner. And if you're a single mom, you're doing it. All right. And so you do need to give yourself a break. You do need to recognize that what you're doing is difficult. It's hard. And you do have to take care of yourself. DJ and I were talking earlier about self care. It took me a long, long time to learn how to drive out at 5pm When my husband walked in the door, so I could go run two or three miles. Or say I'm going to do a yoga class on Saturday morning, I'm off, friended are going to go do that. Can you watch the kids? But I had to ask him, I had to say I need to go do this. Would you please watch the kid. And he learned when I asked him. And he figured out that I was doing things that made me nicer and happier. So it was good for me, which then it was good for the whole family. And so I think it's really important for working moms to learn that they can ask for help, they can carve out time for exercise for lunch with a friend for a playdate with a friend at the park for just doing something else they want to do play an instrument, read a book, whatever. We have to give ourselves permission to decompress and ask for someone who loves us to cover for us while we're doing that, or we got to do it during the school day. But self care is really important. It is something that women are not prone to doing. Until they figure out it makes them feel better. I didn't learn that running or doing yoga or exercising made me feel good and my brain and my mood until I was in my mid to late 30s. And in my 40s I knew that I needed exercise. I knew that I needed to talk to my friends. I knew that I needed to get away two hours on the weekend and go to go shopping with somebody. And so I like to tell younger mothers that it's okay to learn how to manage all the things in your life that you're learning to manage. Yeah, we're not born knowing how to juggle work and children and a partner and a spouse. If we're lucky, we had a mother model it for us. And some of us had bad models. Some of us had bad bad role models. And we're having to reinvent our own definition of being a working mom.

DJ Stutz  29:53  
I think one of the things too, that really helped me so I have five kids. Yeah. Well, I'm the oldest to seven, my husband's the baby of nine. So we didn't even have a large family by those expectations, right. But one of the things that I've found and was able to work out is that you can do double duty and some of these things. So I could take a favorite book to soccer practice, and sit in my chair and read the book. I've been a runner. Not anymore, but for my life. I was high school track and all of that. Wow. Yeah. So I would sometimes just go running around the park as they were doing baseball practice or whatever, I could get my running in that way. And I'm doing double duty. Do you know what I mean?

Dr. Susan Landers  30:44  
Yeah, you figured it out early. I don't think I was that clairvoyant about it. Because I always felt like I needed to, because I worked so much. And when Nikki was so intense, I felt like when I was home, I really wanted to be with my children. Because I had a lot of the absent mother guilt. I'm sure that's what it was. Yeah, that I felt like I had to make up time sometime. If I had had a really difficult, like, sometimes I would be gone for 24 hours. Laura, my youngest child, she's now 30. She tells me just the other day, she said mom sometimes used to come home from work and you were so tired. You didn't want to eat, you didn't want to talk, you just wanted to go to sleep. I said, Well, I might have been up for 24 hours. And she said I know. But when I was I remember when I was in the third grade, I wanted to tell you something so important. And you were so tired, and you went to lay down and take a nap for. And then when you got up, you said okay, now tell me about your day. And she remembers that it hurt her feelings, because I didn't ask her about her day, right when I got home. So that's where that working mom guilt stuff comes from. Our children do need us and they do want us to be part of their lives. But they can't have us every minute of the day. And sometimes we're too tired to interact properly or appropriately. And, and I think my kids had to learn that early on. They say now they tell me now that that helped them become more independent. And they all three are and I'm glad for that. They learn well, I could call mom at work. But if she was busy in the middle of a resuscitation, she wouldn't call me back. If she was doing okay, she would call me back. We even had codes. So they they could put a code into my beeper. And I would know whether it was an emergency or not. But we do make ourselves feel guilty if we're not there for every moment that we think we should be there for them. Yeah, I did. I bet other people do too.

DJ Stutz  33:04  
And I think there are so many things that we do that really aren't that necessary, right? So we feel like we have to have our kids in dance and gymnastics and soccer and ice skating and Taekwondo or whatever. And so I have a grandson right now he's in high school, but he actually had a panic attack during a soccer game. I mean, this kid is he's in high school. He's taking college equivalent cat classes. He's on the cross country team. He's on two different soccer teams. He's got a straight A average. And, you know, he's just got so much.

Dr. Susan Landers  33:57  
That's a lot of pressure. And a lot of

DJ Stutz  34:00  
he wants to do Yeah, you know, but when they're little, really, you don't have to. So I used to teach parenting classes for the Division of Family and Youth Services in Las Vegas. I did that for 16 years. And I had one dad that we were working with, and they were just broke. They just had no money, you know. And life was really hard. And they went to go and their kid wanted to play baseball. And they went to go and register a minimum so expensive. They just didn't have the money. And so we talked about it. And as a class, I had probably 20 people in that class. And we brainstormed and came up with ideas. And what he wound up doing was he came home and it was like okay, baseball practice and he would go out with this son, and they would throw the baseball and they were one on one on one. And Well the funny thing was because this was a six week class. At the end, he told me you're not going to believe this. But some of the neighborhoods saw us out plane. And they came and wanted to play. And they wound up with like six kids that would come out. And they had a green space, I think a block or two away from there. And they would just go out and like, sandlot it, you know,

Dr. Susan Landers  35:30  
created a neighborhood team that has one and experience.

DJ Stutz  35:33  
So they didn't have the team with the uniforms and the trophies or anything. Kids, it's because some of their dads were coming out with them, as well. And so they had something so much more valuable than what a team would have brought. Yeah. And I know my daughter, she's kind of like, if they want to do soccer, I guess we'll try it. But they're more into like skiing and camping and rock climbing and all of those things. And so it's not the set time they do do Dojo thing, that taekwondo Yes, something like that, some kind of martial arts. But that's what he asked to do. But you don't have to do.

Dr. Susan Landers  36:21  
Like we, I learned early on when all my kids were elementary and middle school age, I learned to activities Wait, Mac, preferably one music because I had two kids that were musical, because you don't need to be running around to an after school activity every single day. Another thing that's going on now with young parents is they want their children to be in activities. Some of them are in after school activities three, four or five days a week. That's too much. And it's not only too much for the child, it's too much for the parents, right. And whether that's because of helicopter parenting, and parents wanting to expose their children to all these opportunities. I'm still here to tell you too much. And no child who's in school full time. No neurotypical child needs, after school activities every single day, and on Saturday, that's a lot. Children need time to play. Anytime for imagination. They need time for friendship. They don't all need to be on a sports team. My I'm so glad my son was good at music because he was really uncoordinated. And when we put him in soccer was great. We put him in soccer, and everybody else was kicking the ball. He's out there in the field, looking at daisies, he reminded me of Ferdinand the Bull. It was hilarious. And I said, Okay, that's enough for soccer. Now the girls love soccer. And I said, Okay, that's only one day a week. So we can do soccer. And it turned out that and did swimming. And she did it every day after school. But that was her one thing. She didn't do music. And Laura did violin and David did Bay, and Ninlaro did volleyball, but we always had a limit of two we that that was enough. In some years, one would have been plenty, partly because of too much extracurricular time away from home way from studying, partly because it interfered with family dinner. You know, as a culture, we've gotten away from family dinners, which is a huge, huge, big problem. And partly because was harder on me. I didn't want to go sit out on the soccer field, you may have been fine. Reading a book out there or taking a run around the lap. I didn't like that. I wanted to watch the game and see what was going on. And I didn't want to be out on the soccer field every Saturday. I didn't want to do that in my free time. But we do it and I I wouldn't have done it four days a week. It's okay doing it one day a week, but not four days a week. I think parents need to give themselves permission to have some free time. That's not watching their children in their outside activity. Yeah. Well, we

DJ Stutz  39:24  
have to remember to that every time you say yes to something. You're saying no to something else. Exactly. And so before you dive in, to do something for your kid with your kid, whatever is saying, Well, if I do this, what am I giving up? Is it dinners together at home? Is it some free night to just relax and let your kid kind of get centered and you get centered? So it's really what am I saying no to by saying Yes,

Dr. Susan Landers  40:02  
that's a great point that could the family dinner issue, I was reading an article just today in The Wall Street Journal about the family dinner has gone away. And mainly it's because of parents, taking kids to activities to after school activities and eating in the car or getting junk food and eating in route. And when you think about that, and of course, pediatricians are real big on family dinner, we know that when you eat in the car, or when you donate family dinner together, you gain more weight, and you get not as good nutrition. When you're at home, you're more likely to get a home cooked meal, not always, you're more likely to sit down together and eat together. And you're more likely to connect with each other. Human beings are connection animals. And the main way we connect with each other, and parents with their children is over food. When we eat together. When we sit around a table, think of it in all in all your experiences. When you eat with other people you love. You listen to them, you connect with them, you hear what they're saying about their feelings. The family dinner is so important. And this is coming from a person who probably missed two or three a week. But when I was home, we had family dinners. And both my husband and I were committed to that. And we would go around the table and ask everybody about the best thing of their school day and the worst thing my little granddaughter calls it, what's your good day, and her father will say, okay, Catherine, what was good, what was good about your day to day, but she said, Daddy would haven't done what you're good day. We all we all go around the table. And we mentioned what happened. That was good today. So I want to put a plug in for getting back to the family dinner table. It's so important, it decreases anxiety and children. You don't even have to talk about big problems. You've kept talk about how they're doing, how their day is, whether they like their teacher, did they have a fight with some kid at school, were they chosen for the team or not chosen for the team, just any little thing that comes up in their lives is important for them to hear about. And then you connect with your spouse with your partner that way too. If you're sitting in front of a television, you're not connecting with other humans around you, you're just not

DJ Stutz  42:52  
one of the things that I've noticed with couples that seem to really have that balance in a good spot. They will sit alone in some of their alone time. And they will talk together about well, what's Johnny got going on? And it looks like he's struggling with this or, or I'm seeing a lot more temper tantrums than usual. And so what are we doing? How do we meet and so they're strategizing away from the kids, like after the kids are in bed or whatever. And but they're having those conversations about where they are, how we can work together, what do they need? What do they don't need? And not only I think, does that get you in a really good place with being a team in raising your kids. Right? Right. It's also really good for the relationships. Yeah,

Dr. Susan Landers  44:00  
I agree. We're both totally agree. Because the perspective is different, the male and female perspective. And it's typically father and mother, but it can be different in different families, but in general, women think about different things about their children than men do. Women are more concerned about the kids feelings and how the kids is justing. And wow, the transitions are going and men just want to kind of how are the gray house support team? How is it and the Okay, and I had to pull my husband and on lots of conversations and say it's not doing well. She's really struggling in school and I don't get what it is and she needs testing. He Oh, no, let the teachers handle it. No, I mean, I've talked to the teacher and we're worried about what's going on, and she really needs some additional tests. assessment and I want you to be involved with that. My youngest had dyslexia. And I had to figure it out for myself when she was four and a half, five years old. And I had to figure out how to get all those services, how to get the evaluation of the hearing of auditory perception of vision, then when we a developmental assessment, talked to the pediatricians, the developmental pediatrician, then I had to figure out okay, now we know what she has, how do I get her some help? And I remember specifically having to ask my husband, would you please hear what we're saying here where she has trouble learning, she has trouble reading, this is a big deal. We've got to both help her with this. And he turned out to be one of her best reading instructors, he would make a point because I asked him because I made a big point out of it. He would make a point to read with that child, every night, and they would talk about words and how the word looked, and how the how she thought it looked and how it really looked. And what the word you know, it's not bad. It's really what did she say something like, I know it's supposed to be dog. But that's not what I say I say cog and, and he would say, Okay, you're gonna have to remember a dog. And he got on the program. And he helped her with her reading in a way that was way more patient than me. But it started with a brainstorming together, talking about a problem deciding how we were going to help our child. Because when, when mom's worried, that's not good for the relationship. Right? If Mom is worried about a kid, she's not focusing on dad, he's not focusing on the partner, she's thinking about the kid, and then she's got her work to go to the next day. So we can only do so many things that want and if we're worried about an issue that our child has, sharing it with our spouse or partner is just vital as it is.

DJ Stutz  47:18  
It really is. Well, I It's so appreciate the time that we've had together. I forgot to tell you this before we got started, so I'm just gonna throw it at you. Well, before we do that, first stop. If people want to get in touch with you and find out more about what you've got going on, where should they go?

Unknown Speaker  47:43  
My website is susanlanders.md.com. And there I have a blog. I've written a blog for parents also have a newsletter. I have a special resources for parents, about various childhood things. There's a link there to buy my book, "So Many Babies," I recommend it for working moms who want to feel reassured that they're not the only person on the planet making mistakes. I have developed a checklist for working moms to determine whether or not they're stressed or burnout and that checklist is free. If you go to my website, Susan landers, md.com, forward slash burnout, it will take you to a free checklist and it's short, easy, 21 items. I've checked it out with some a millennial friends of mine, and it seems to work but it will give you some idea of whether or not you're doing pretty well with your working mom schedules and issues or whether you're really getting too stressed or whether you're all the way burnt out. Because there's help. There's help for people who are burnt out. There's lots of help out there. So and I'm on social media, all my social media links are on the website too.

DJ Stutz  49:10  
Great. I'm so glad to hear that. Okay. Now for the big question. Okay. What, how would you describe a successful parent?

Dr. Susan Landers  49:24  
I think a successful parent is one who feels fulfilled in their work. Who loves their child and who feels like they make a difference in their child's life. So I have purposely put feeling fulfilled outside of being a parent and feeling good about the kind of parent you are for stay at home A mom, that may mean, you're, it's most important to feel good about the kind of mother you are. But you're also a wife and a friend, and a daughter and a sister and all these other things. So whatever makes you feel fulfilled, whether it's needle work or playing the piano, or painting or coaching a soccer team, if you're fulfilled as a person, if you're making a difference as a person, you're going to be a better parent. And you're going to be more able to show your love to your children, and you're going to be more involved with your children. So that's my definition.

DJ Stutz  50:45  
Perfect. Perfect. Well, thank you so much for spending this time with us. And I'm sure we'll be hearing more about you in from you. And so I look forward to talking with you again.

Dr. Susan Landers  51:00  
Thanks, DJ, thank you for the invitation. I appreciate it. You bet.

DJ Stutz  51:07  
If you would like more information on Dr. Landers, and her book, or her blog, or her social accounts, all of that information is in the show notes. And Holy smokes, we have so much going on here at Little Hearts Academy, which is the sponsor of this podcast. And we have some amazing events and opportunities to engage. And to get the support, you need to better enhance your confidence as a parent to create the path and blaze the trail of raising independent, kind and successful children. And I know you don't want to miss out on any of that. So go ahead and sign up for our newsletter, you're going to find it on the website, which is www.littleheartsacademyusa.com. And of course, the link will be in the show notes. 

And next week, my guest comes to us from Down Under in Australia. Amanda Kate comes from a very different faith tradition than mine. But she uses that tradition to inspire herself and others in taking care of themselves. And understanding that when she is mentally healthy, she is a better mum. So check it out and see. And until next time, let's find joy in parenting. 

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Susan Landers Profile Photo

Susan Landers

author, speaker, neonatologist

Dr. Susan Landers is a neonatologist who worked full-time in the NICU for over thirty years and raised three children to young adulthood. She achieved many academic and professional accomplishments, and she encountered challenges along the way, both in her career and in her mothering. She loves to tell stories that reassure younger mothers to know that they, too, can be a “good enough mother” especially if they work full-time. She supports mothers with her social media posts, free resources, and her blog. She also cautions physicians and nurses - who might be experiencing serious burnout – about the ways in which it affects their lives and their relationships, and the many ways to treat and recover from burnout. Her new book is “So Many Babies: My Life Balancing a Busy Medical Career and Motherhood.”