From Good Babies to Bad Mothers: Behaviorism and the Influence of "Mommy Training" on Maternal Anxiety

Monday, May 05, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

Avoiding anxiety in parenting is essentially impossible because there is a discrepancy between internal drives, early modeling, social norms and societal goals that all compete. In recent human history, behaviorist thought has played a large role in altering the way we respond to internal cues about parenting, and many women enter therapy trying to field pressure from too many sources. Figuring out what those sources happen to be matters. There's a reason we feel like we're doing it wrong: according to some part of our brain, we totally are. 

Let me be clear that this is not an attack of a specific parenting model or ideal. It is also not to say that some forms of training are not useful. We evolved to watch those around us and model behaviors, learning how to parent through those interactions.

But our drives to attach are often at odds with the drives to fit into out current idea of what normal parenting looks like. And behaviorist mandates can create an additional layer of shame responses that some women may be susceptible to without even realizing it. This may be true whether they parent against the grain or not.

It is for those who are having trouble understanding their anxiety responses amidst competing drives that this post is for....  continue reading

Mom Alert: Things Your Doctor Hasn't Told You About The Causes of "Mommy Brain"

Monday, April 21, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

"Mommy brain" is a common experience among new mothers. Often beginning during pregnancy, symptoms can last through the first year of a child's life and occasionally longer. Women in the throes of this phenomena report having less ability to concentrate or overall feelings of being mentally foggy. Forgetting details--such as what you walked into that room for--is common, as is realizing at the end of the day that you're wearing two different shoes....  continue reading

Mom Alert: How Contemporary Views of Attachment Can Cause Guilt (and why they might be wrong)

Monday, March 31, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

There's something about Bowlby, and it isn't his hot ass.

Much research has been done on the nature of mother-infant relationships. While I won't go hardcore into infant psychology, the model has a great many implications for women. Our societal model encourages women to stay at home, caring solely for their children, while at the same time pushing them back into the work force earlier by making single-income living unfeasible.

Unfortunately, we often feel guilty or anxious regardless of our choices or why we make them.  What we fail to realize is that there are a great number of ways to "attachment parent", all of which provide healthy environments for children. The myth that attachment parents do it one specific way creates far more anxiety than it needs to.

First things first. Let's look at why we feel so bad....  continue reading

Do You Know The Difference Between Guilt, Shame and Regret? Here's One Way To Reduce All Three

Monday, March 03, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

 

Guilt, shame and regret are similar emotional experiences. However, there are subtle differences that matter for our mental health. While guilt and regret follow a similar path towards making us feel shitty, we may be even more receptive to shame in our current overly connected state.

Shame = just one added bonus of Pinterest...  continue reading