Ever since my youngest, Brooks, was born, I’ve been trying to fast track his life and I feel so guilty for doing it. I just constantly keep thinking that when he’s 3.5 and Hudson’s 6, we’ll reach this magical place where I have more time. I feel like once they are both out of diapers and they’ll play more independently, then they will just need me a little bit less. The advice I often get is “wow you really are in the thick of it and it does get easier as they get older”, but that’s not what I heard from Cait. With her beautifully vulnerable and realistic approach, Cait helped me realize that I don’t need to wait until some far off point in the future. I could reclaim that time for myself now and I don’t have to do it alone.
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Cait connected with a friend when they were both postpartum. Though they had very different pregnancy and postpartum experiences, they both felt like they were failing in spite of having access to a tremendous amount of privileges and resources. Cait and her friend founded MotherNation to provide support for moms and build the skills to integrate their own needs into the demands of motherhood. She shares incredible advice to help you prioritize your own needs too.
What were the 6 weeks like before you gave birth to your twins?
I had to stay home for 6 weeks prior to having my twins because I started dilating early. I was very appreciative of that time in regards to my pregnancy, becuase of my hyperemesis and the bonus baby. I really had to adjust to expecting twins as opposed to the one baby. I had a lot of grief in my pregnancy and had to let go of the expectations I had for it. Frankly, I also needed the space for my mental health. I was able to go into my labor really settled in this new role, which is not something that I would have said six weeks prior.
I was also really lonely. I was one of the first of my core group of friends to have kids. Everyone else was working. And I was struggling through a difficult physical pregnancy and a difficult emotional pregnancy.
How did your postpartum journey inspire you to start MotherNation?
My co-founder and I have been friends since before I got married. We were eight weeks apart in our due dates, but our babies are about 30 hours apart in age. We went through postpartum together. We had vastly different experiences, but we felt very similarly. We felt isolated and we felt a disconnect between ourselves and our relationships that had existed previous to motherhood. We felt totally overwhelmed with information, and incapable of rising to the level of responsibility that motherhood demands.
We both realized that we felt like we were failing. We looked at each other and wondered, if we feel this way, who the hell feels successful? We weren’t alone. A lot of moms we talked to felt feelings of overwhelm, lack of confidence, and feelings of failure. So when we realized that so many of us shared these experiences, we started to ask, what the fuck is wrong? What is happening that all these moms with all the privileges in the world to be set up for success feel like they’re failing? If we feel like we’re failing, are we actually just being failed to some degree? This sent us on the path to MotherNation. There have been many iterations of what we’ve done to provide support for moms on the ground and build the skills in themselves and each other to provide that support for each other. We’re also working at the federal level, to create lasting, impactful change for mothers.
How do you provide support for mothers through MotherNation?
We are a coaching and community platform that creates a space of support for moms (and soon to be dads and caregivers) to integrate their own needs into the demands of motherhood. What is so important is to integrate your own needs into those demands, which is something that is not messaged as excellent parenting, or even really adequate parenting. I think child-first or child-centered parenting is so common and so expected now that parents feel as though they’re failing at parenting if they do not center their child. However, this renders them incapable of centering themselves. What we do at MotherNation is provide a space for parents to center themselves.
When you are not centered ever, it is really difficult to feel confident in the choices that you’re making. It’s really difficult to understand your own values and achieve goals that you have for yourself or your family. And those are all things that bring so much fulfillment to people’s lives. So we create a space to build skills for that transformation.
Co-founder & COO
Bridget is mom to two little boys, Hudson and Brooks, and a champion of working moms everywhere. NeighborSchools itself was borne out of Bridget’s challenge to find high-quality yet affordable child care, and the realization that so many parents struggle with these same issues every day.