Episode 46: Reframing Parenting and Showing Ourselves Empathy with Dr. Mona Amin






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Brief summary of show:


Motherhood is by far the most difficult job in the world, would you agree?

Sometimes it feels like just when I have one thing figured out, another problem hits, or maybe a health issue arises. I know you know what I’m talking about.

But what happens when we let our own boundaries go? Or maybe when we don’t heal the things that have caused us trauma?

Joining me to talk about this is Dr. Mona Amin, a Board Certified General Pediatrician, Parenting expert, and mother.

She has been featured on Parents.com, Romper, CondeNast Traveler, VeryWell Family, NBC News, and was named one of Insider’s Top Pediatricians to follow on social media for 2020.

She works in private practice and her passions include: early childhood development, focusing on the impact of healthy sleep, a healthy relationship with food, and healthy coping skills in the first five years of a child's life.


Listen in as we talk about:

  • [00:03:24] How to give ourselves grace as parents

  • [00:06:01 Parenting guilt during the pandemic

  • [00:07:03] How to reframe trauma

  • [00:12:52] Tips to work with your partner to support each other’s mental health


Resources mentioned in this episode:


Connect with Dr. Mona


Connect with Me




View Transcript for this Episode


[00:00:00] Natalie: Motherhood is by far the most difficult job in the world. Hi everyone. You know, just when I have one thing figured out another problem hits or maybe a health issue arises, you know what I'm talking about, right.

[00:00:12] I know you do, and please know you are not alone. My guest today is Dr. Mona amine. She is a board certified general pediatrician, a parenting expert, and mom she's been featured. So many popular podcasts, TV shows also online. She's passionate about helping parents and even has her own survival guide online that you can access.

[00:00:36] I'm going to talk about that before we get started. I want to remind you that you can go online to read my latest blog posts. See my latest videos and sign up for my newsletter. It is all@natalietisdel.com. Okay. Let's get to the reframe. On parenting and family life and the importance of being flexible as a mom with Dr.

[00:00:58] Mona Ameen.

[00:00:59] [00:01:00]

[00:01:02] Natalie: Dr. Mona joining me now. And everything you do is so in line with what I believe in as a mom and I really emphasize health. So I want to get into this notion with you because I know you talk a lot about this in reframing how we parent it's easy to feel like a failure as a parent almost every day, but let's get

[00:01:24] Dr. Mona: right into.

[00:01:25] Well, we first have to kind of realize where we think this may be coming from. And I think our generation, a lot of the women and, and dads too, a lot of women have been raised with this perfectionist attitude. You know, we're high achieving women. In our generation, maybe we've gotten careers in medicine or we've gone through um, graduate school or whatever it is.

[00:01:45] We have this expectation that I work hard and I will get this outcome, but parenting. Y work that way. And I think you start to realize that when you become a mother or father, that, you know what, I can't actually work hard, always to get the outcome. [00:02:00] I expect whether it's for myself, whether it's for my child and that, you know, that difficulty in understanding that your expectations may not meet reality all the times can be really hard as a new parent, especially.

[00:02:13] And then also when you have multiple children, because what you do with. May not always work with another child because every human being has a unique temperament. So although the parenting philosophies may be there, sometimes you may be telling yourself when you have a second kid, why is my kid not sleeping?

[00:02:30] Well, why is my kid having more tantrums? I did this all. Amazingly with my first and now why is my second one going through so many issues? Is it me? Is it them? And I really like to reframe and remind parents that it's not anyone's fault or anyone's, wrongdoing. It's really just understanding that we are all human beings on this world with different temperaments.

[00:02:50] We may need things approached differently and that includes.

[00:02:54] Natalie: Well, I couldn't agree more from my first child coming out, screaming to my second one, like never [00:03:00] crying. And then the third one was like right in the middle. I thought I had to figure it out. So let's talk about some of the most common things.

[00:03:07] So your mom, your doctor, you go through all these things we do at a higher level of stress. I would say being a doctor, what are some of the ways that, that you manage that? How do you balance that? It's one of the top questions I get from parents is trying to balance all of

[00:03:24] Dr. Mona: that. So I think one of the biggest things is when you're feeling like your expectations are not meeting reality, or when you're feeling like a decision I made is not the choice I wanted.

[00:03:34] You know, I really remind parents to look at the big picture of parenting. And that's what I mean by reframing. Right? So looking at the big picture, I'm going to use an example of a mother who decides that they want to breastfeed their babies. Ends up having to use formula with many women. The way of we have been taught is that if you don't breastfeed it's a failure to formula feed your baby.

[00:03:56] This is what science and parenting and education has told us. [00:04:00] But when you actually look at the data and you actually look at a grand scheme of a child, Their development and their nutrition and their wellbeing is more than just one thing that we do as a parent. Right? Of course breastfeeding has benefits.

[00:04:12] There's no denying that, but when your child, you know, they talk about higher IQ, they talk about lack of obesity. They talk about so many different things. Look at the lifestyle. You're also giving your child. If you end up formula feeding, are you providing them with nutritious foods? Are you giving them an enriching environment of, you know, engaging with them developmentally, these are all things that also have positive outcomes.

[00:04:32] It's really remembering that if something is not going your way or something, wasn't going as planned, you looking at. Is this really going to matter in five years from now? Or is it just something that I am just feeling that I'm feeling very heavy about right now? So the saying goes that if it's not going to matter in five years, don't spend more than five minutes thinking about it, right?

[00:04:54] Meaning when you look at an eye uh, something that's happening, you have to say, well, I hear about a lot of formula fed babies that [00:05:00] turn out amazing. I hear about a lot of family, you know, babies who have X, Y, and Z with positive. When you are a parent and you're going through an experience, it can feel so isolating and so hard when things don't go your way.

[00:05:13] And I always remind my parents to also lean on the people who support you and uplift you in a way you need that uplifting. So whether that's someone who's going to tell you how it is, if that's your way of speaking, whether it's going to be that person who just listens and just listens until you need advice, you really need to have.

[00:05:31] with you to kind of get through those hard times and help you with the reframing. That's so important in motherhood,

[00:05:36] Natalie: you know, so much of what you're saying goes back to me to mental health. And I know you end up dealing with both your pediatrician. So of course, you're working with the kids.

[00:05:49] Inadvertently you're working with these parents. And what I'm hearing also in this reframe is the mental health of the parents in being often stressed out, being a parent. Oh. [00:06:00] And by the way, being a parent during the

[00:06:01] Dr. Mona: pandemic, And a lot of that stress is self-created meaning when you, when I asked to meet mothers in my office, and of course I know we mean fathers too, but I mainly meet mothers.

[00:06:12] It's just the way society is right now. And I look at mothers through my experience of being a pediatrician for the last seven, 10 years. If you include residency. And I see mothers who have like five children who seem to have it all figured out, and then I see moms who have five children who are struggling.

[00:06:28] You know, a lot of it has to do with everyone's individual resources and everyone's individual ability to reframe when they're going through hard times. And so I started asking a lot of my moms who've seemed to feel happy and joy in a lot of their mothering experience. And I'm like, what makes you feel so happy and confident right now?

[00:06:46] You know, I'm trying to learn about maternal mental health and the number one thing that they say is. I just own my decisions. I'm happy with the decisions I make. I know that it may not always seem right for what other people are doing, but I know that I'm [00:07:00] making the best decisions for my family, with the information I have.

[00:07:03] Right. We all have. Access to resources and we all have different information at that current moment. And the resources component is huge. So when I, you know, in the pandemic, when we had to decide to send our son back to childcare, there are a lot of people who are like, oh no, I wouldn't send my kid back during an open concert.

[00:07:22] My husband and I, we work in healthcare. We have no alternative. And so we looked at. Weighing benefit and risk. And also the information and resources we have resources mean. We have no alternate childcare information being, Hey, this variant is not as severe as the Delta variant as other variants. I understand there's a lot of unknown.

[00:07:41] I understand that. But unfortunately in our lives, we are not able to control every outcome in our health, and we're not able to control every outcome with our child's development, your child. Fall off a tree and break their arms, same concept that you didn't do anything wrong as a parent, that was an accident.

[00:07:56] Things happen, but it's about saying, Hey, I did what I could. My [00:08:00] child was having fun on that tree. I'm protecting my kid as much as I can during this pandemic, but I can only control. what I'm feasibly able to control. And it's when you start to learn to let go of that, that you really start to feel peace in your life that, Hey, I'm only human.

[00:08:15] I can't be in control of every aspect of my child's life because I can't even be in control of every aspect of my life. So if I'm already trying to do that for myself, and then also my child, you are going to feel so. Drained in your life because you're constantly making decisions to avoid risks, to avoid this, to avoid that.

[00:08:33] When in reality, you have to pick and choose your battles and say, you know what? I need to focus on this right now, right now. I know that kids have good outcomes right now. I know that I don't have the capability to do X, Y, and Z. So what do I do at this moment? And it's when a mother can get to that balance that I think they find true.

[00:08:50] They feel, you know what I understand, I'm going to go through hard times my life. Isn't perfect. And I think people think that when you see resilience in a human being, that it means that their life is easy. [00:09:00] I can tell you firsthand, I've gone through a lot of trauma, but it's the ability to kind of understand that.

[00:09:05] those trauma episodes that have happened in my life, they are not going to define me. I'm going to use the trauma to make something brighter and bigger. And that is how I reframe trauma, you know, and it's really hard to get there, but it's something that I think a lot of mothers, when they finally get there, they're going to feel like, yeah, I feel so empowered.

[00:09:22] I am the best mother for my kid. I'm going to do what I need to do with the information and resources I have and not compare to.

[00:09:30] Natalie: It is so interesting. You brought up two words, two of my most popular downloads um, that I would encourage people to go back and listen to in the podcast, one on trauma and another on resilience.

[00:09:40] And I don't know if those are just key words people use right now, but they are resonating in getting through that M moving on resilience, being the key to that. And I think at least for myself, having three kids at different levels when in college and high school and middle school, that the ability to bounce back.

[00:09:59] Because we [00:10:00] will, as parents have issues, we will have hardships. We will have stress. I mean, I can remember with my first kind of that first turning point of what you said of like, I have to realize I can't do it all. And I was definitely a stressed out burst mom and kind of that controlling, needing to have everything done and they sleep right.

[00:10:21] And I'm going to get on a schedule and I'll do all this. Perfect. And I can actually remember driving. Being late for a doctor's appointment, sorry to the doctor who has people miss appointments thinking I can't make it today. And that's okay. You know, I can't, I can't do it. And, kind of this light bulb moment of like, it's okay to say I can't and then turn around and go home and just reframe.

[00:10:46] And I think that's a really hard thing for moms. Especially moms, maybe some dads to realize like it's okay to just do the best you can. And that's okay.

[00:10:57] Dr. Mona: And I think it's been programmed [00:11:00] through us, especially as females. You know, when we grow up, we are told that we can do all of this things again, like the hardworking ethic that everything will turn out if you just work hard.

[00:11:07] And then how we talk about moms. Supermoms like that term, like, oh mom, you do it all, totally do it all because they have to do it all. We don't want to always do everything on our own. Like I'm everyone I think is burnt out to some degree as a mother. Um, Because we do take on the brunt of the mental load and a bunch of brunt of all the, if you're a working mom, all of that work at the, you know, work stuff that you have to put in and then you have to take care of your kid and then they're sick.

[00:11:30] And you, like you said, sleep behavior, tantrums, all of that adds to our mental space. And like you said, perfectly, sometimes it's just saying. Physically do something. And sometimes it's just saying, I can't mentally do this right now. Right now. I cannot mentally, I do not have the capability in me to handle this.

[00:11:48] And I have had moments with my husband or my son is throwing a tantrum and I turned to him and I say, how are you feeling right now to my husband? He's like, I'm good. I'm like, I mentally cannot handle this tantrum at this moment. I'm very overwhelmed. [00:12:00] And I'm afraid that I'm going to yell and get upset.

[00:12:02] I need you to handle this tantrum. I will be right back. And that doesn't always happen in a. I'm sometimes alone with my son during tantrums, but if you have help or support and have that, you know, someone to lean on saying, Hey, I need you to take over right now because mentally I don't have the space.

[00:12:19] And I know I'm not always going to be like that, but I need you to hear me and listen to what I'm saying is that I need this moment for my mental health, because I know what this is triggering in me. And I think that insight is so important for moms. It's. Trying what I'm trying to do with my platform in terms of just really making people understand what is triggering you, what is it that makes you feel upset?

[00:12:41] What is it that makes you so insecure? Because we all deal with that. But it's when you can have ownership over those things, that you start to see things clearer and you feel more confident in the decisions you make because you have

[00:12:52] Natalie: ownership and just I've learned being able to leave. Just actually being able to say I'm [00:13:00] having a tough time today.

[00:13:01] This is a anxiety. That's too many things on my plate. Like just being able to identify it, say it out loud. Sometimes write it down, helps to get to the next stage.

[00:13:13] Dr. Mona: And it's all about, it's what we do in therapy, right. So if you ever went to therapy I, I actually go see a life coach, which I actually find even better than a therapist.

[00:13:21] I love therapy. Don't get me wrong. Some people really need it, but I love it in that I get the, you know, I get that person who really understands and allows me to just feel and say what I want to say that permission. I think so many mothers are just looking for permission to feel or permission to be vulnerable.

[00:13:39] I think I, my, my motto is vulnerability leads. to breakthroughs. So the more vulnerable you can be in your life, I believe that the more breakthroughs you're going to see if you put on this hard exterior entire life, that's not the human experience. The human experience is understanding that there is going to be highs, right?

[00:13:55] That's what life is, you are going through both. You're going to go through seasons where you're thriving and [00:14:00] seasons, where you're just barely hanging on. And it's understanding that, okay, I'm in a season where I'm not surviving right now. I'm barely hanging on, but I recognize that. And how now, because I recognize it and I have the outlet to either dance it out with music or talk to a friend or tell my partner or tell a loved one.

[00:14:16] If you don't have a partner, I need help is when you can see. Okay. Now I move forward and I can begin to process this at my own time. But if you just hold onto that and never release it, whether it's through crying, talking to someone, a therapist, a professional, a loved one, you are just going to continue to hold onto that inkjet and that anger and that resentment.

[00:14:38] And it's just never going to process into a healthier emotion. And I think it's so beautiful when, when someone goes through. Like, I'm not saying I ever want someone to go through trauma, but what I always feel, and I might cry is that, you know, I went with my son, he had a very traumatic delivery and I read stories about like PR celebrities, having traumatic deliveries or going through something super traumatic.

[00:14:59] And in my head, [00:15:00] I'm not happy that that person. Went through trauma, but I tell myself, wow. When that person comes through the other side, imagine how powerful that person is going to be. Because when you can process hard times and trauma's defined as you has, you want how you want to define it, right? If you're going through grief or trauma, when you're able to process it and come through the other side, that is when you really see a new person being born.

[00:15:24] And that's you, you see this new life that you've created, that you're like, I went through something really hard. And look at what I'm doing with it now. And that's such a beautiful place that I don't think a lot of people get to go through because they don't either have the insight or have the permission to feel.

[00:15:40] Yeah.

[00:15:40] Natalie: And with kids and in life that resiliency and trauma. But especially with kids, I always have to remind myself whatever it is right now. It will be better to me. Yeah, it might still be a tantrum. It might still be an illness or something, but it will always, and I tell my teenagers this, because I know teenagers live in that moment and we [00:16:00] worry about them and their mental health, whatever it is today, it will always be better tomorrow.

[00:16:06] Yeah. That's, it's, it's, it's a hard thing I want to ask you about some of the things that you've created, I love what you're doing and love your website platform. I know you have a course for. Is that right? Tell me about that. Because being a new mom is the most wonderful and the most stressful thing.

[00:16:23] So how are you helping people with that?

[00:16:25] Dr. Mona: Yeah. So PS doc talk as a brand is trying to help all parents with parenting health and illness in an easy to understand way that doesn't cause fear, because I feel like when you Google, you end up finding out that your child is going to need to be in the hospital or have this horrible illness.

[00:16:39] So I'm trying to create as a whole bigger platform, a website that. Searchable engine for the way I want parents to be educated, not Google, right? I want you to come to my website and search fever and be able to understand about things about fever that I think will really resonate and say, Hey, I don't need to be panicking about every fever.

[00:16:58] So when I decided to create the [00:17:00] new moms survival guide, I. Chose to talk only to moms because I'm a mom myself and I saw so many mothers go through very similar experiences. It's not to say that fathers or other caregivers don't, but there is something unique about the woman experience raising a child.

[00:17:15] And I think it has to do with how we were raised as women. The social media comparison game that we tend to carry way more than men. A lot of different things that I think. So I wanted a resource for moms to have for their first year of a child's life that not only speaks to how to breastfeed your child formula, feed, sleep.

[00:17:33] Solid introduction development, milestones, teething, all of the stuff that happens in baby's first year, but it also reminds mothers to have the insight for themselves. So I talk about breaking the cycles of parenting. I talk about, I have journaling exercises where I say, I need you to. Right. These answers down.

[00:17:50] Why are you afraid of this? What is your expectation as a mom? Why do you hold these expectations? Is it something that was created from you, from your, your father or your [00:18:00] mother? Because unless we can understand where we came from as children and as adults now, you're not going to make the breakthroughs with your children.

[00:18:08] If you have not broken down your current. Right. Like if you, if you have been raised in a, in a household that never allowed tears, which I was one of those children if you cry, you're weak, that's what Indian culture believes. Right? So I grew up always feeling that me crying was a negative and it took me the last three years of being happy when I cried and looking at as powerful as emotional discharge.

[00:18:30] And I talk about it as I am loved when I cry now, I don't feel ashamed. Right. I used to feel ashamed because I grew up with that. So now when my son. I can tell him. You have nothing to be ashamed about. You are allowed to cry. I'm here for you if you need me. And that only could happen until I broke down that trauma that I had from my childhood.

[00:18:51] And we call it trauma because it was traumatic of not being able to feel my feelings. So that is what I'm trying to guide parents on. That I can only educate you all on [00:19:00] sleep, on feeding on milestones, all of that. Only if I can remove the insecurities and anxieties that you have that have been created for you when you have now become a mother.

[00:19:10] And so it's that cycle of parenting, but I'm really trying to help break in order to educate.

[00:19:16] Natalie: I love it as a health reporter for many years in the news, I feel your Google pain because people well, they will. And naturally that's the first place we go. So having a safe place that we know we can search and find and know that it's.

[00:19:33] Just somebody blog, who said something that is going to give bad advice is really, really valuable. So where can people get more information, find you, find your course, find your website

[00:19:43] Dr. Mona: and everything. Um, I think this year I reorganized everything, so it's easier to find, but my website, paeds doc talk.com would be the best place to start.

[00:19:51] And my Instagram account, paeds doc talk on Instagram, P E D S D O C. T a L K from there you'll be able to get access to [00:20:00] my, my podcast, my YouTube, as well as my course, which is what I'm talking about. And then it's all on the website as well. And again, the website is going to hopefully be the hub of everything in this year where there'll be searchable ways to find content, whether it was from Instagram or YouTube or podcasting.

[00:20:14] So you're not having to. DME or look the like, Hey, Dr. Mona, do you have something about pumping or something about tummy time? Like I want to move all of my content into that one place to make parents feel more empowered and just love parenting again. Like I think sometimes we get so burnt out and tapped out because no one is saying, Hey, it's okay to be tapped out, but also let me tell you what you really need to be concerned about right now.

[00:20:37] You know, let me tell you X, Y, and Z. Here is when you need to go see a clinician here is when I am worried and look at the big picture of your kid all the while, because if you can look at the big picture and your big picture goals is when you can really start to reframe and say, I'm in the moment. This is just a moment, like you said, it's going to get better.

[00:20:55] Tomorrow is going to be a better day. I have survived a hundred percent of my most [00:21:00] shittiest days and it's going to be okay.

[00:21:03] Natalie: Yeah. Yeah. And let's enjoy parenting because it really is wonderful to not really stress about it.

[00:21:09] Dr. Mona: And, and I, you know, I, I love kids and I think you can't be a pediatrician doing what I'm doing on social media.

[00:21:14] If you don't love children for who they are and what they're going to give to this world, like, I look at every child as an opportunity, right? An opportunity to raise a kid who's kind compassionate, but also understands their self-worth and loves themselves for who. I mean, it sounds impossible, but my goal is to teach parents that, I mean, I hope that parents understand through being with me that, Hey, you need to set some rules.

[00:21:37] There's going to be boundaries, but we are going to teach our children that you are so powerful and your voice is powerful. How to respect other human beings and the environment. All of this is so important, but just truly the bottom line level. Like, I feel like so many of us have forgotten how to love ourselves and it doesn't mean you're being cocky.

[00:21:53] It just means I love the person I am right now, but I also understand that I'm going to go through a lot of [00:22:00] changes and I have so much to learn. And that's what I want my son to learn too, that you are powerful, but you are not perfect because we all are constantly learning from this world and you are going to become better and better when you start to learn through those experiences.

[00:22:14] Natalie: To grow and learn, no matter how old you are such a beautiful message. I love what you're doing. Thank you so much for taking the time. Everything you mentioned, I'm gonna put in the show notes. So somebody couldn't write it down fast enough and find it in the show notes. Thanks again. Let's talk again soon.

[00:22:28] Okay. I would

[00:22:29] Dr. Mona: love to talk. We'll have topics for you. I'm always willing. It's such a pleasure doing this. And again, thank you for what you're doing with your platform and your podcast as well. Thank you. Take care.









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