It’s Anxiety Week - Save 20% on our Managing Postpartum Anxiety course with code anxiety20.
LEARN MORE
It’s Anxiety Week - Save 20% on our Managing Postpartum Anxiety course with code anxiety20.
LEARN MORE

February 20, 2024

September 22, 2021

Working As A Mother

E:
87
with
Dr. Courtney Tracy
Founder of The Truth Doctor

What You'll Learn

  • Unspoken Messages To Moms About Having A Career
  • The Social Expectations Of Mothers
  • Dealing With Mom Guilt
  • Finding Your Stride When Motherhood Doesn’t Go As Planned
  • Communicating With Your Partner
  • Differentiating Our Values As Parents From Trauma Responses

Do you work as a mother or spend time on a hobby? Motherhood is hard enough without losing those other pieces of ourselves that are so important. But society has a clear idea of what a mom should be, and it’s not always juggling corporate calls and leaving daycare pick up to your partner.

Dr. Courtney Tracy the Truth Doctor is going to help us unpack unspoken messages to moms and why we should ignore them. 

Unspoken Messages To Moms About Having A Career

We always talk about how we can have our dreams as a woman, but sometimes it seems like as a mother you lose that. “I definitely pressure myself a lot, or I had pressured myself a lot in the past, but that is likely rooted in the unspoken messages of society and our perspectives on mothers as a whole,” Dr. Courtney said.

“You anticipate who you’re going to be as a mother, and then you realize you’re a mother in the stream of your life as it is,” she said. “Sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want it to. I had to accept that this was motherhood for me.”

I had to accept that this was motherhood for me.

For Courtney, this meant having an emergency c-section when she wanted a vaginal birth, and anyone who has had a cesarean can tell you the recovery isn’t easy. It also meant facing an eviction, career changes, and changes to her own mental health—mental health changes after having a baby are normal even without all of the external factors she struggled through—with a three-month-old. And the first step to getting through all of that was accepting it.

Like many other moms, Courtney’s experience started with IVF. If you struggle to conceive, the disconnect of what you thought motherhood might be, and how it actually is can start before the baby even gets here.

The Social Expectations Of Mothers

When we examine the idea of the perfect mother, she has a bit of a form. She sacrifices everything for her children. If we want to embrace modern motherhood and have a career and other things in our life, we have to relinquish some of the responsibility.

“We’re each an individual human, and we each show up differently for the individual humans that are our children,” Dr. Courtney said. People sometimes assume her son may not get the affection he needs, because she’s the breadwinner, but her husband is actually the more nurturing of the two. 

“You are your own human being. Your children are their own human beings,” she explained. We need to reevaluate this myth that we’re the best caregiver for our children, because if we can’t trust our partner, or parents, or a trusted sitter to help with childcare, we won’t be able to explore the other parts of ourselves.

Dealing With Mom Guilt 

Guilt can be a value-based emotion. We may feel guilty because our children see their teacher at school more than they see us even if it’s because we’re working to help our family. But it’s a value-based emotion. You value spending time with your kids, and it bothers you when you don’t.

Dr. Courtney told us when she feels this way, she knows she’s missing connection. She may clear her schedule for a few days to spend time with her son. But it doesn’t have to be that extreme. Maybe you could do something as simple as reading a bedtime story or watching a family movie after work.

“When I am around myself, I’m hugging him. I’m brushing his hair,” Dr. Courtney said. “Those things help me with the guilt, because I can see in his face that we’re connecting.”

There is a myth to have a strong bond with our kids, we have to spend all of our time with them.

There is a myth that in order to have a strong bond with our kids, we have to spend all of our time with them. It’s just not true. You can have fifteen minutes of really connected, attuned time with your child or hours of disconnected time.

Finding Your Stride When Motherhood Doesn’t Go As Planned

It wasn’t always the plan for Dr. Courtney to be the breadwinner. She actually planned to hire employees and work less. But then her husband got publicly arrested, and she had to fire him.

That meant she had to work more. She had to manage the appearance of her clinic, managing all of their clients, and their employees. Her husband had to step up and take over being the primary caregiver, and after such a traumatic experience, they both struggled with mental health and trauma responses. 

They moved to Orange County where Dr. Courtney is from, and she started the truth doctor right after they moved back. She didn’t plan for it to take off the way it did, but The Truth Doctor resonated with people. 

She and her husband realized the roles they fell into playing worked out for both of them. He was very nurturing and was equipped to be the stay-at-home parent, and she was equipped to be the breadwinner.

For a while being the breadwinner meant telling her husband, “This is what I need you to take care of this week.” But as her schedule has become more controllable, parenting has become more equal.

Communicating With Your Partner

Communication is invaluable. Dr. Courtney explained that communication has been the most helpful tool in adapting to parenting and in allowing her and her spouse to each adapt to their new roles. 

Communication has been the most helpful tool in adapting to parenting.

She and her husband actually have monthly meetings to discuss where their son is developmentally and what his goals should be for the month. They set goals and rules for working toward them. There isn’t anything to argue about, because they’ve agreed to parenting choices beforehand. They also have similar meetings to focus on their relationship.

This is genius. We’re used to working this way at our jobs, because having everyone on the same page helps projects and company missions move through the pipeline smoothly. Why have we never thought of this when dealing with the most important thing in our lives—our families?

Differentiating Our Values As Parents From Trauma Responses

“I definitely think that some of our values are shaped by our trauma, because our trauma shakes up what we think about ourselves and the world. It changes the way we protect ourselves moving on,” Dr. Courtney said. “Values don’t always have to have actions and trauma responses usually do.”

“The value can stop the trauma response,” she explained. Dr. Courtney grew up in a multigenerational household with a mentally disabled uncle. He didn’t understand how to use the bathroom, so sometimes he would just use the restroom like a toilet. 

Values don’t always have to have actions and trauma responses usually do.

This resulted in the bathroom being off-limits for periods of time and for a small child learning to potty train, it also resulted in wearing pull-ups longer than usual. Because of this childhood trauma, it’s very important to her that her son progresses with toilet training age appropriately.

A trauma response might be to rearrange her life, so she can stay home and ensure he’s potty trained properly in a timely manner. “But will that really solve the problem?” she asked. Probably not. Rearranging a kid’s whole life can be counterproductive to potty training. The value stops the trauma response.

This is one of many places in parenting where being aware of your values can be really helpful. If you feel like you aren’t sure what might be a trauma response, and what might be a value, download The Motherhood Roadmap. That can be a great resource in figuring out what’s important to you.

Whether you’re the breadwinner or not, life changes when we’re thrown into parenthood. Resentment can become part of our relationship with our partner either way. If you’re struggling with resentment or it’s affecting your relationship, the Unpacking Resentment Workshop is a good resource to help work through this.  

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Tags:

working as a mother

Stage:

Postpartum, Motherhood

Share Now:

OUR GUEST

Dr. Courtney Tracy
Founder of The Truth Doctor

Dr. Courtney Tracy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Doctor of Clinical Psychology who has become one of the most recognizable names on social media regarding mental health. Trailblazing with an amassed online community of over 1.7 million followers, Dr. Tracy uses her platform with two goals in mind: to teach about how the body and mind work through psychoeducation and to destigmatize mental health in all sectors of our human existence. She's pioneering a new wave of authentic professionalism and offers an unparalleled voice in the world of mental health.

Erica Djossa
Erica Djossa
PMH-C | Founder of Momwell
Erica is the founder of Momwell, providing educational resources and virtual therapy for moms. She is a mom of three boys and a registered psychotherapist. Erica’s work has been featured in the Toronto Star, Breakfast Television, Scary Mommy, Medium, Pop Sugar, and Romper. how they want it.
RELATED ARTICLES
February 20, 2024
February 14, 2024
Rekindling Your Sex Life After Baby: Communication Is Key
E:
212
with
Vanessa & Xander Marin
bestselling authors & hosts of the podcast Pillow Talks
February 20, 2024
January 31, 2024
Postpartum Rage vs. Parental Anger: How Social Expectations Create Overwhelmed Moms
E:
210
with
Dr. Ashurina Ream
Founder and CEO of Psyched Mommy, licensed clinical psychologist
February 20, 2024
January 24, 2024
You’re Not an Angry Mom: Why We Experience Mom Rage (and What We Can Learn From It)
E:
209
with
Minna Dubin
Author of Mom Rage: The Everyday Crisis of Modern Motherhood
February 20, 2024
January 17, 2024
What Causes Mommy Brain? The Role of the Invisible Load on Forgetfulness and Brain Fog
E:
208
with
Dr. Jodi Pawluski
neuroscientist, psychotherapist and author
February 20, 2024
January 3, 2024
How Parents Can Avoid Information Overload: Maintaining Confidence in Our Decision-Making
E:
206
with
Cara Goodwin
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
December 6, 2023
Navigating Different Sex Drives in Parenthood: What Impacts Libido and How to Reconnect
E:
202
with
Dr. Lauren Fogel Mersy & Dr. Jennifer Vencill
Licensed Psychologists and Authors
February 20, 2024
November 29, 2023
Prioritizing the Invisible Load of Motherhood: Valuing Our Own Time and Letting Go of Mental Labor
E:
201
with
Whitney Casares
Founder and CEO of Modern Mommy Doc
February 20, 2024
November 22, 2023
Erica’s Husband Reflects on Sharing the Invisible Load
E:
200
with
Frenel Djossa
Erica’s Husband & Co-Founder of Momwell
February 20, 2024
November 15, 2023
Breaking Generational Trauma Cycles: Healing Our Past and Moving Forward in Motherhood
E:
199
with
Dr. Mariel Buqué
Psychologist and the author of the book Break the Cycle: A Guide to Healing Intergenerational Trauma
February 20, 2024
November 8, 2023
Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Perfectionism? Reframing the Concept of “Perfect” in Motherhood
E:
198
with
Katherine Morgan Schafler
Psychotherapist and author
February 20, 2024
November 1, 2023
Breaking Out of the Default Parent Role: How to Communicate with Your Partner and Change Patterns
E:
197
with
Erin & Stephen Mitchell
Founders of Couples Counseling for Parents
February 20, 2024
October 18, 2023
Rebuilding Connection and Intimacy After Baby: How Family Systems Can Help Us Navigate Relationship Challenges
E:
195
with
Aaron Steinberg
Co-Founder of Babyproofing Your Relationship
February 20, 2024
October 11, 2023
Embracing the 7 Types of Rest: Why Moms Are Exhausted and What Actually Helps
E:
194
with
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith
Board-Certified internal medicine physician and award-winning author
February 20, 2024
October 4, 2023
Interpreting Newborn Hunger Cues and Sleepy Signs: How to Learn Your Baby’s Needs
E:
193
with
Sharon Mazel
Author of Bite-Sized Parenting: Your Baby’s First Year
February 20, 2024
September 27, 2023
Understanding Overfunctioning in Relationships: How to Change Dynamics After Baby
E:
192
with
Dr. Tracy Dalgleish
Clinical Psychologist and Relationship Expert
February 20, 2024
September 20, 2023
Managing Mom Anxiety: Why Millennial Moms Are So Anxious and How to Overcome Our Fears
E:
191
with
Dr. Lauren Cook
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
September 13, 2023
Embracing Power as Moms: Reshaping Dynamics In and Out of the Home
E:
190
with
Claire Shipman
NYT Bestselling Author
February 20, 2024
September 6, 2023
How to Raise Confident Kids: Breaking Cycles of Negative Self-Esteem
E:
189
with
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Founder of The North Star Developmental Clinic
February 20, 2024
August 23, 2023
Understanding Sensory Self-Care: How Overstimulated Moms Can Regulate and Regain Calm
E:
187
with
Holly Peretz
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
February 20, 2024
August 16, 2023
Navigating Matrescence: The Roller Coaster of Becoming a Mom
E:
186
with
Dr. Catherine Birndorf
Co-Founder and Medical Director of The Motherhood Center of New York
February 20, 2024
July 26, 2023
The Journey of a Bereaved Parent: Stefania Thomson’s Story of Navigating Grief and Loss
E:
183
with
Stefania Thomson
Bereavement and Grief Advocate
February 20, 2024
June 21, 2023
Myths About Toddler Behavior: How to Reclaim the "Terrible Twos"
E:
178
with
Dr. Cathryn Tobin
Pediatrician
February 20, 2024
June 14, 2023
The Invisible Load of Fatherhood: How Dads Can Challenge Gender Norms and Become More Involved
E:
177
with
Dr. Singley
Psychologist and Director of The Center for Men’s Excellence
February 20, 2024
March 29, 2023
Birth Trauma Part 2: Facing Pregnancy After a Traumatic Birth
E:
166
with
Kayleigh Summers
Clinical Social Worker
February 20, 2024
March 22, 2023
Birth Trauma Part 1: How Birth Trauma Impacts Our Family Decision Making
E:
165
with
Kayleigh Summers
Clinical Social Worker
February 20, 2024
March 15, 2023
Real Self-Care for Moms: Why Mindset Matters More Than Massages
E:
164
with
Dr. Pooja Lakshmin
Psychiatrist
February 20, 2024
February 22, 2023
Navigating Working Mom Struggles: How to Let Go of Norms, Expectations, and Guilt
E:
161
with
Mary Beth Somich
Mental Health Counselor
February 20, 2024
February 8, 2023
Overcoming Mom Guilt: Rewriting the Motherhood Contract and Charting Your Own Path
E:
159
with
Libby Ward
Founder of Diary of an Honest Mom
February 20, 2024
December 28, 2022
Coping During Postpartum with No Family Support: When Reality Clashes with Expectations
E:
153
with
Emmalee Bierly and Jennifer Chaiken
Founders of ShrinkChicks
February 20, 2024
December 14, 2022
Navigating Career and Motherhood: Approaching Maternity Leave with Confidence
E:
151
with
Allison Venditti
Founder of Moms at Work
February 20, 2024
November 23, 2022
The Mental Load of Motherhood: How to Address the Imbalance of Household Labour
E:
148
with
Gemma Hartley
Journalist and Author
February 20, 2024
November 16, 2022
Surviving the Baby Witching Hour: How to Cope With Colicky and Fussy Babies
E:
147
with
Dr. Whitney Casares
Pediatrician
February 20, 2024
November 2, 2022
How To Deal With Toxic Positivity As a Mom: What To Do When Someone Invalidates Your Feelings
E:
145
with
Whitney Goodman
Marriage and Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
October 19, 2022
Returning to Work After Maternity Leave: Navigating the Emotions, Difficulties, and Challenges
E:
143
with
Dr. Cassidy Freitas
Marriage and Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
October 12, 2022
How to Know if You Have Postpartum Anxiety: Red Flags to Watch for in Pregnancy, Birth, and After Baby
E:
142
with
Dr. Sarah Oreck
Reproductive Psychiatrist
February 20, 2024
October 5, 2022
Protecting Maternal Sleep: The Relationship Between Sleep Deprivation and Postpartum Depression
E:
141
with
Dr. Nicole Leistikow
Reproductive Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
February 20, 2024
September 21, 2022
Encouraging Independent Play: Why Unstructured Play Matters and How to Foster It
E:
139
with
Susie Allison
Founder of Busy Toddler
February 20, 2024
September 14, 2022
Dividing Labour Fairly in the Home: Redistributing the Mental Load of Motherhood
E:
138
with
Dr. Darcy Lockman
Author and Psychologist
February 20, 2024
August 31, 2022
Why Does a Messy House Give Me Anxiety? How to Stress Less About Cleaning and Keep Your House Functioning
E:
136
with
KC Davis
@domesticblisters on TikTok and Founder of Struggle Care
February 20, 2024
August 3, 2022
Overcoming Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: Why Support Matters and How to Find Resources to Help
E:
132
with
Dr. Wendy Davis
Executive Director of PSI
February 20, 2024
July 27, 2022
Overcoming Working Mom Guilt: Why Moms Should Never Be Ashamed to Be Ambitious
E:
131
with
Lara Bazelon
Law Professor and Author
February 20, 2024
February 16, 2022
What is Matrescence? The Transition into Motherhood (And Why Being a New Mom is Hard)
E:
108
with
Dr. Katayune Kaeni
Perinatal Psychologist
February 20, 2024
February 9, 2022
How to Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby: Planning, Introducing, and Keeping Everyone Safe
E:
107
with
Dominika Knossalla
Certified Dog Trainer
February 20, 2024
February 2, 2022
Discover Your Personal Core Values
E:
106
with
Dr. Cassidy Freitas
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
January 26, 2022
When Mommy Rage Strikes: How to Prevent and Control the Anger
E:
105
with
Dr. Ashurina Ream
Founder of Psyched Mommy
February 20, 2024
January 5, 2022
Sleep Training Doesn't Have To Be Scary
E:
102
with
Dr. Aubrie DeBear
Founder of Baby Sleep Dr.
February 20, 2024
January 19, 2022
Carrying the Mental Load: How to Redistribute the Burden and Give Moms More Freedom
E:
104
with
Eve Rodsky
New York Times Bestselling Author
February 20, 2024
January 12, 2022
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression: How to Spot the Signs So You Can Seek Support
E:
103
with
Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis
Reproductive Psychiatrist
February 20, 2024
December 29, 2021
Decluttering: The Secret of an Easy to Tidy Home
E:
101
with
Katy Wells
Declutter Expert
February 20, 2024
December 22, 2021
100th Episode: Erica’s Husband Tells All
E:
100
with
Frenel Djossa
February 20, 2024
December 15, 2021
The Pressure to Get It Right
E:
99
with
Dr. Jen Douglas
Psychologist
February 20, 2024
December 8, 2021
Learning to Fight Fair
E:
98
with
Elizabeth Earnshaw
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
December 1, 2021
The One and Done Family
E:
97
with
Renee Reina, Ph.D.
Founder of The Mom Room
February 20, 2024
November 24, 2021
Overcoming Gender Disappointment
E:
96
with
Dr. Renée Miller
Clinical Psychologist
February 20, 2024
November 17, 2021
Adding a Sibling to Your Family
E:
95
with
Bryana Kappadakunnel
Family Therapist
February 20, 2024
November 10, 2021
Regulating Your Nervous System
E:
94
with
Dr. Quincee Gideon
Psychologist
February 20, 2024
October 20, 2021
Social Justice Parenting
E:
91
with
Dr. Traci Baxley
Author
February 20, 2024
October 13, 2021
Momming With ADHD
E:
90
with
Dr. Melissa Shepard
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
February 20, 2024
October 6, 2021
Supporting NICU Moms
E:
89
with
Kristin Reinhart
Registered Social Worker
February 20, 2024
September 22, 2021
Working As A Mother
E:
87
with
Dr. Courtney Tracy
Founder of The Truth Doctor
February 20, 2024
September 8, 2021
Caring for the Postpartum Brain
E:
85
with
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
Neuroanatomist