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Brandi Jordan

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Latest 5 Jun 2021 | Updated Daily

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What Conscious Parenting Is and Isn’t, with Brandi Jordan

Learn With Less

How Do We Define Conscious or Gentle Parenting? And Who is it For?On this episode of the Learn With Less® podcast, we sat down with Brandi Jordan, founder of the Cradle Company, a pregnancy and postpartum resource center. Brandi’s work as a consultant, a parenting group leader, and in-home practitioner has led her to develop a unique philosophy of gentle parenting techniques that are a pragmatic, practical, and healthy approach for the whole family. In 2018, Brandi also founded the National Association For Birth Workers of Color. Brandi is a board certified lactation consultant, pediatric sleep specialist, newborn care specialist, and postpartum doula.We discussed:Brandi’s personal and professional background, and how she came to do the work she’s doing todayWhat are “conscious parenting” and “gentle parenting” – and who are these parenting philosophies for?How can parents and caregivers become more conscious about their own parenting choices?Brandi’s top tips and resources for parenting in a more conscious way, self-care strategies, and asking for what you needResources Mentioned in This Episode:Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting: Five Strategies That End the Daily Battles and Get Kids to Listen the First Time, by Noel Janis-NortonThe Big Leap, by Gay HendricksLearn With Less® Caregiver & Me Classes (for families with infants and/or toddlers)Using the Language of Listening With Infants and Toddlers, with Tracy Cutchlow (Learn With Less® podcast episode)How to Stop Yelling At Your Kids, with Amanda Rueter (Learn With Less® podcast episode)Connect With Us:Brandi: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Facebook Group Ayelet: Facebook / Instagram / PinterestText Transcript of This Episode:Ayelet: All right! Today, I am speaking with Brandi Jordan. Brandi has been helping new families grow, adjust, and find balance for almost two decades. Brandi is a board certified lactation consultant, pediatric sleep specialist, newborn care specialist, and postpartum doula. She holds a BA in child development, a master’s of social work from USC, where she is also adjunct faculty lecturing in the area of infant mental health and culturally competent mental health care. In 2009, she opened The Cradle Company, a pregnancy and postpartum resource center. Brandi’s work as a consultant, a parenting group leader, and in-home practitioner has led her to develop a unique philosophy of gentle parenting techniques that are a pragmatic, practical, and healthy approach for the whole family. And in 2018, Brandi founded the National Association of Birth Workers of Color. Brandi, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to Learn With Less.Brandi: Hello! Thank you so much for having me!Ayelet: Well today, we are going to be talking a whole lot about tips for parents, what conscious and gentle parenting are, things like that, but I would love it if you could start, I gave the sort of “formal “introduction, but I’d love to tell our listeners a bit more about your background and really how you came to do the work that you are doing today.Brandi: So, I came to this very much differently than most people. So when I was 19, I was home from the summer from Texas originally, you know, you’ve kind of, I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to be doing. And I was in my car and NPR came on and it was talking to this old-timey career called midwifery. And so I was like, what is this? What is it like, I need to know everything. And so I don’t know if it was me going online or look looking at a yellow pages back then, whatever we had back then. But I cold called the interviewer, who for whatever reason, allowed a 19 year old to come and train with them. And I kind of just like found my space in life, but I was also 19, and I was like, who the heck is going to hire someone who’s 19 to be their doula or whatever.And so I kind of put out of my mind, but I knew I wanted to work with families. And so I went down the child development track. That next year I moved to LA to finish my studies, and I moved next door to the Hollywood Birthing Center, I would say, not by chance, but had them as my neighbor. And so I was like, okay, maybe I should do something with this. And so I took a formal doula training in 2001 and just found my calling with parents and with families. While I was doing the academic side of like getting, you know, a bachelor’s degree getting a master’s degree, it was also working inside the home, doing doula work and just seeing, you know, I didn’t have children of my own back then. And so I was kind of just seeing like what people were learning, what they were doing, and matching that up to how I was parented and kind of having this idea of like, what do I want to take with me on that journey that I learned in my own childhood? What do I want to, you know, take away and then had my first in 2007 and kind of went down this path of like, how do we connect more, be more gentle to ourselves and to our children, and kind of do it in a way that’s actually practical. That makes sense for all of the pressure that we do have on ourselves, as modern parents. Ayelet: Here, here. Love it. Well, let’s talk a little bit about these terms, you know, conscious parenting, gentle parenting. Let’s talk a little bit about what conscious parenting is and also what it isn’t, because I think these, this is like such a important conversation. I think parents, caregivers today, we hear these terms being thrown around. These are terms that certain people have like created and then run with. And then it’s, you know, this thing and in the parenting ether. And I think it would be nice to just hear your definition in your own words and from your own experiences as both a parent and a professional. Can you give us a little bit of a definition of about what you understand about this whole world?Brandi: Yeah. So I feel like conscious parenting is such a loaded word, but it’s kind of one of the things that… We use it because it gives people kind of an idea what we’re talking about. But I think when people think of that, they’re thinking of like any of these super woo-woo parents who do yoga and who are vegan and most likely White, you know? And so there’s a lot of connotations when we think about parenting. And I use that term because I know that people have this idea that it’s kind of this parenting from the inside out, but I’m hoping that we change when we think about that word, that it has more global, diversified connotation of just people who are trying to get closer to the parents they wanted to be before they had kids. I think we all have this idea of like the perfect parents we’re going to be before we had children. And then reality sets in…Ayelet: Oh my gosh. Especially those like professionals among us, right? Who have always worked with families, but…Brandi: Yeah. But I think it’s this idea that like you realize how imprinted your own journey of parenting is like on a cellular level. And it’s kind of being really conscious of that and figuring out, you know, what is, what parts of this is serving me and helping me to create the relationship I want my children and what part isn’t. And the idea that it’s conscious. It’s more that you have to be intentional about it. It’s not something that just saying like, I’m going to be conscious is going to work. It’s like the actual intentional of like, what is your story? Like, what things did you love about the way that you were parented? What things were missing in that equation and how do you make a turn if you want to, with your own children, and the idea that it has to be something that you actually think about, talk about, make a plan for, and falter many times.But that’s what I think about when I think about conscious parenting. And my goal is that people start to look at it differently, like being a conscious parent doesn’t mean that you’re it’s, you know, letting your kid do everything. It doesn’t mean permissiveness. It doesn’t mean that you have to be this, like, you know, a person who’s made it to this place of enlightenment, you know, like I use lots of F-bombs and I’m still a conscious parent! You know, I try with my children, but, you know, it’s this idea that you have to be like this Yogi who’s mindful and never, you know, loses their temper. It’s not perfection, is what I really would get across. It’s really flawed people that we are trying to be better for our children. And to me that’s conscious parenting. Yeah.Ayelet: So, so many important points to unpack there and to think about! I do want to hit on something that you did say, which I think is really important. And especially for our listeners who come from a very wide variety of backgrounds, whether they are based in the US, based in the quote unquote “rest of the world,” whether they are diverse in race and culture and ability level and all of those, you know, power holding spaces. I want to just touch upon that, what you said about how we think of White families when we think of conscious parenting. And I, I think that’s really interesting and I think it’s totally true that, in general, the White parenting world has become this ubiquitous… Like yes, that’s the like, place that everyone thinks that we aspire to or something. And I would like to just hear in your words, what about conscious parenting do you think is reflective of Whiteness and white society and white parenting?Brandi: I think there’s a couple of, like, I will just say in quotations “parenting philosophies” or groups that have kind of coined terms, you know, that create this kind of social status in parenthood, you know, whether it be that you have some kind of, you know, monopoly on attachment or monopoly on consciousness, whatever, and it becomes this kind of way to like, you know, “we’re doing this and they’re doing that.” And it also, it has a condescending flavor to it that like we’re more R.I.E. We’re more like “in the know,” because we’re doing these practices with our children. And I think a lot of those organizations, or those groups tend to have a large, you know, White parent following, of people who tend to be middle to upper middle class, following those. And so it, in some ways becomes a very reflective of, especially in the United States, it’s very reflective of what parenting circles look like.You know, we have to have and have nots like that are going to these circles. And so I think that creates a little bit of a condescending nature. Like, you know, I was at a park once and I remember her mom like going around and asking everyone if they, if their kid wanted a parsley snack and I was like, no kid wants a fucking parsley snack, but, you know, I could tell, to her, it seemed like a really like “arrived” and my kid doesn’t eat sugar. My kid doesn’t have this or that and she talked about it about the park and it’s like, you know, I think it’s great if that works for your family and it’s great for your DNA and your own biodiversity of food. And that makes you guys feel strong and healthy. But in some ways we use it as, as kind of like badge of honor.And I think we see that in a lot of different places when it comes to parents of, you know, differing backgrounds, that there is kind of a segregation that happens. And so I think that’s why a lot of people, when they hear that they kind of think like, Oh, that’s for rich White parents, it isn’t for us. And my goal is that I want both BIPOC parents and White parents to see that there is a place for them in conscious parenting, because it means that we are treating our children with respect, that we’re giving them their space to become who they should be and not something that like we left on the table and want to get it through our kids. And I think if, if we don’t make that distinction and we keep it divided, that there’s a lot of kids who are going to suffer in that, you know, and I don’t want it to be the social status. It should be that we’re all striving to create a space that is more just, and more gentle for our kids. But I think, you know, like so many conversations that we need to have in the United States, there has to be one around parenting and what that support looks like and what it looks like for, you know, all people.Ayelet: Yes, absolutely. Well, I think so much of what the conversation tends to be within circles of parents, of all kinds. It becomes divisive, right? It’s so easy to get, to get two parents, whether they look exactly the same or whether they look totally different or whether they came from totally similar backgrounds or not, together. And it’s really hard. I think for many parents to see the commonalities, especially in those early days, when you’re overwhelmed, you’re trying to make the quote unquote “best” decision for your child and for your family, it can feel very divisive. And I think you and I are, are both working towards this community approach of look when we get each other together, when we provide these supports, when we provide, you know, knowledge and education around intentional practices, whether that’s, you know, parenting, whether that has to do with, with breastfeeding or sleep or child development or how we engage our children in play all of those things.When we bring people together to sort of observe each other, observe their children, figure out what’s happening… We find that families tend to say, Oh, okay, this is happening for you, or that’s not happening for you. Or I never had to deal with that. My goodness, how great that I finally got to understand that that’s something that you think about every day, for instance. So I just, I thank you for that. And I think it’s… I, in my own personal opinion and thoughts like community is how we move through this. All of it, right. Is, is looking at those commonalities and those divisions and helping each other, understand what, what life looks like for somebody else,Brandi: Right. I’d just like to add, you know, parenting is probably one of the greatest cultural expressions that we have. And so, you know, when we have these rules that are set for people, like you have to do this when your kid is misbehaving and you should be doing this, you cut out, you know, the way that different cultures deal with those things. When you have this kind of like one size fits all to parenting, which so many of these, like, you know, parenting philosophies or things that people are following. And it definitely cuts out like the cultural part that is important, the values that are gonna be different from family to family. And it’s figuring out how do you get all that inside of it while still being gentle? And I think that’s kind of, what’s been missing.Ayelet: Oh gosh, gosh, yes. So let’s, let’s move. A little bit into some, some useful tips from you about how to do that practically on a day-to-day basis when you and I spoke previously in preparation for this discussion, you were talking about how, yeah. Like, how do we do this in this not, you know, this is not just breathing through it. Like how do I actually get my toddler to put their shoes on in the morning? So I would love to hear a few of your, you know, best favorite, useful tips for practical strategies using gentle parenting and conscious type parenting approach.Brandi: Yeah. I mean, the first thing that I would say is that we often, you know, look for these formulas, and we skip over like the easiest, most basic things, the simple things that we just feel like aren’t going to work. And it’s, it sounds so simple when you’re telling someone that, but it’s like, but did you do that? Like, no, you actually didn’t. And so, you know, I think about for young children, I think that’s probably a stressful stage for so many of us. I have a teenager and young kids, you know, so I’m in all the stages at three, five and 13. And so particularly when I’m working with clients with younger children, they’re dealing with a lot of like big emotions. Like they’re trying to figure out their limits and they’re super emotional. They don’t necessarily have the cognitive or, you know, impulse development that allows them to act like sane humans. So we’re often managing those things. And I want to say that…Ayelet: Paired with, let, let me just say paired with that, like sleep deprivation on the parent’s end, right? And the like feelings of overwhelm and trying to figure it out and that all your own transition into, and through those early years of parenthood, like we are lacking in our own impulse control and self regulation and all of that!Brandi: Exactly, exactly. You know, it’s such a, like I always say parenting is a parallel process. And so there’s so much focus on like, how do I get my child to act? And it’s like, how are you handling yourself? That’s number one. And so if you’re lacking sleep and you’re meeting your, you know, your two year old, hasn’t slept like two disregulated brains meeting each other are going nowhere fast. So, you know, the first thing I tell parents is, is like the same way you do the care of your children, like making sure they get to bed on time and they brushed your teeth and whatever: you got to know yourself first, you know, I know it’s hard if you’re getting up with an infant, but sometimes have to decide, like, do I want to scroll Facebook or do I want to take a nap?You know, do I need to entertain, you know, in different times when we’re not actually able to entertain back in the olden days when we didn’t have a pandemic, you know, it’s the decisions that we make that sometimes take from our quality of life, because we get into these “should’s.” I should be doing, or I have to be doing. And a lot of times it’s that lack of self care that creates a lot of the frustration that we have. Now, once you’re kind of saying, like, I’m taking care of myself, I’m, you know, I need more than self care. Like, what else are the things, the practical things. You know, one thing I always talk to my toddler parents about is this idea that you can’t rush toddlers. It’s not possible. It’s probably one of the biggest frustration for parents is getting their kids to do something, getting them out of the door in the morning, when you gotta be at work, you’re already running late and you know, they’re still eating cereal and they should be dressed. And it’s all those things. And it comes down to what time did you guys get up? You know?Ayelet: Right, working backwards.Brandi: You know, to do this task. And it sounds like a really simple solution, but we have to like put time in our schedules to be at their pace. Oftentimes, we’re making our little ones and even our 12 and 13 year olds be on our pace. And it creates a lot of frustration because they just can’t do it. They can’t be in our pace. They don’t care about our pace because they’re still in the mindset that they’re on their own timeframe and schedule. And we’re the ones that need to get on board.Ayelet: Yeah. And that Cheerio, like looking at that Cheerio from every different angle is a very important learning moment. Right?Brandi: You know? So thinking like, if, you know, you gotta be at work at 8:15, you know, how much time realistically do you need to have in that morning routine so that you don’t feel rushed because you can sit next to the door with a toddler who wants to take 10 minutes and do it. “I gotta do it myself,” you know, to put that shoe on, you know, then there’s days that won’t work out. Of course, I totally understand that you overslept, you’re tired, you slept in whatever. But you know, if 80% of the time, 75% of the time you have this idea of, like, I know that my toddler has a hard time with this one task. I’m going to double the amount of time that I give to them. The control that parents feel in that space of control over themselves and their emotions. They’re really actually being intentional about the idea that their kid actually needs something during that space. And they’re just not being annoying and trying to like, you know, make them late for work. Like that little flip just changes everything, you know? And it still might be frustrating, but when you kind of plan for it, it creates more of a sense of control over your own emotions. So that’s one of my biggest tips for families. Like you just need to give more time to kids.Ayelet: I love that. Yeah. Right. I think time is such a huge thing. And there are other tools too, right? Like, like visuals, right. Like I remember, especially when my older one who’s now seven was like three, four years old. He did really well with getting out of the door. Like, okay, well, what do we need to do before we leave? Right here are the, here are the things like, here’s the reminder, right there. So whether it’s a visual schedule on top of planning backwards, right? Because again, like you were saying, this is so much about reverse engineering from, from the parent end, right. What do we need to get done? How, what are the tools that we need to put in place that we can get these things done? So I love that.Brandi: Yes. Knowing you’re… In that space, you learn your own triggers as well, because a lot of them they’re feeding off of you. Like one of my triggers is like the one shoe and taking 25 minutes to put the other shoe on. And so for me, it’s like, I want to have extra time. And so you go put your shoes on, I’m going to get myself ready, you know, so that I’m not there for most of that dilly dallying time, you know, of putting the shoe on because that’s my own trigger, you know? And so just building that in and just creates a bit of a, you know, I’m able to be more gentle to be more patient, cause there’s time built in. You know, the other thing, you know, that we talk about a lot in conscious parenting because you want to take out this idea of like, you know, behavioral modification and like making them, you know, be compliant.It’s more about like, how can we be in relationship with each other to get the things done that we need to get done in this family. And so I’m not using things like rewards and things like that because I want it to be an intrinsic want to actually help and be a helpful part of the community. And so sometimes that looks like just being really descriptive. Like you might’ve heard, like there’s a really good book that I would recommend to your listeners and some of it, you know, like if anything, take it to, you know, take some that you want and leave the other part, but it’s called Happier, Easier Calmer Parenting. And in her book she talks a lot about descriptive praise, meaning this is not the idea that we’re just like giving people, the kids a high five because they like, you know, you know, woke up.You know, I feel like there’s so much like, you know, junk praise that we’re giving. It’s more of just like talking about the things that we want them to be doing. Talking about the things that we saw them do that were great. And it’s kind of like I saw today, you know, you got your shoes on, right when mom asked you to put your shoes on, very matter of fact, no one’s getting a cartwheel or, you know, a, you know, candy or something like that because they did something that you wanted them to do, but you are putting it out there in the universe that that is a behavior. That’s something that was really helpful in saying that can be really helpful as opposed to like, you know, doing rewards and things like that that tend to like work for awhile and then it won’t work later. But when it comes like out of them and their own value system, it’s more longterm.Ayelet: I think that is so great. I love that tool too, because it can, it can be applied on both sides, I guess you could say it. Like that non-judgemental just observing, saying sort of what you see happening can be applied for like the, wow. I, I saw that you did that you know, so well or whatever, I saw that you put your shoes on. Great. And it can also be like, wow, I saw, I saw that you left your shoes out. And I tripped on them that really hurt. Like here’s where we put our shoes or whatever, right. And it’s like you were saying, it’s, it’s much more about being in relationship with another person. And instead of that sort of hierarchical positioning of, I am the parent, you follow my rules.Brandi: And that becomes really authoritarian and shouty. Like that’s when I get into, like, that’s like a really easy way to go to like “shout parenting,” you know, and that, like, “they’re not listening to me!” And it’s like, that’s where the ego starts to get involved. And so much about conscious parenting is kind of letting go of the ego and the expectation, you know, and what we’ve been trained to know. Like I was trained that kids are supposed to listen to before the jump, when I say jump, they say how high, you know, that’s how I was trained. You know, that there was a hierarchy and children are at the bottom of that hierarchy. And to unlearn that, that means that I have to be really mindful of like those structures I’m setting up and I fall back into them. So this is not about perfection. Like there are many times I’m just like, Oh, wow, that was a little control freakish. Let me pull that back a little bit. Like, why am I saying no to this? Because I’ve been conditioned to say no, or because there’s actually something wrong with this request or what they’re asking or what they’re doing.Ayelet: All the time. Yes. Yeah. Definitely. I think pandemic living gives us, you know, so many more opportunities to, and to enjoy that reflecting and that unlearning for sure.Brandi: I think that people will talk about gentle parenting. This is a time where you need to be the most gentle to yourself, you know? And I think, you know, I was talking with someone and they were like, you know, can you believe that, you know, so-and-so like the teacher had my, you know, four year old doing zoom all day. Like, Hm. Was the teacher in your house? Like how, you know, it’s like, the question is, it’s like, no, no one’s forcing us to do that. We’re choosing to like, why do we feel like there’s certain things we have to do if we’re feeling within our soul that is not helping our children. And then it goes back to like what we’ve been trained, like who’s authority and who we’re supposed to listen to you, regardless of what our internal being is telling us we should, or shouldn’t be doing, you know, the same thing we don’t want our kids to stop doing. We have forgotten because that’s how we were conditioned. And so, you know, in this time where there’s going to be things that are happening, where you just like, you know what, that doesn’t feel good to me in my, for my, for myself or for my kids. It’s going to take some people like bucking against that and saying, Hey, I don’t think I want my three-year-old to do zoom classes all day long. Like, I’m noticing that it’s making them ragey and making me ragey and, you know, we’re having a problem with that. And I think so a lot of this is coming up for people because they do have this instinct that, you know, this maybe isn’t the way for my young child or my older child. And not really sure, you know, if it’s okay to say no, or to take a stance for your child. And so I think we’re all kind of figuring that out and what that space is. Obviously we’re all concerned about our community’s health and doing things that make sense for our community. But I think it’s, it’s going to be also a parallel process to make sure that we’re doing things that are okay for like our kids’ brains and longterm development. So yeah, I think we’re all learning that, but I’m getting lots of emails from parents about the emotional factor of the pandemic on their children, the behaviors that they’re seeing.Ayelet: Yeah, definitely, definitely. I would love to hear from you also some tips for those younger, even younger than toddler. Cause we do have a lot of like brand new parents of infants and toddlers in the zero to three years, listening in, uh, as well as professionals working with that age range. So I feel like we’ve talked a lot about like that two and a half and up, but I’d love to hear a little bit from you about even the younger set.Brandi: Yeah. So, you know, most of my career has been spent working with young babies and pregnant people. And so I, that’s kind of my specialty. I think, you know, there’s a thing that I always say to clients, you know, that calm is contagious. It’s really true because you know, I work a lot with clients who are having difficulties with their baby sleeping or having breastfeeding issues, et cetera.And so I’ll go and like, you know, do the thing. And they’re like, I did exactly what you’ve been doing. Like why the heck did that baby go to bed right now? And I was like, it’s not what I’m doing. It’s what I’m feeling and what I’m thinking. And that could sound woo woo for some people, but you know, they’re so innocent and open and so aware of what’s happening around them with people’s emotional state and what they’re carrying, you know? And so when someone’s coming to them with like the secure center and, you know, security, they feed off of that and that feels good and they pay attention to that, you know? And so if you’re coming to this space with like, Oh my God, how long is this gonna take? Like, Oh, that’s good to take an hour and a half for this kid to go to sleep. And it’s hard not to be in that space. I totally get that. But the baby is open to that and listening to that and it is affecting them. And so a lot of times it’s kind of, you know, what do you need to do to get into that space where you’re able to go into this bedtime? And this is a new bedtime, this is a fresh space. Like let’s renew that energy around it. And so, so much of what happens between parents and babies. A lot of that is like how well we’re dealing with their own emotional, emotional state. And I know parents probably tired, like why is it always me? Like, why can’t I just don’t put it into this kid? Like why is it always fixing myself? Particularly with babies, you know, a lot of those techniques, obviously routine can be something that is really helpful for young babies and that’s whatever routine works for you, not what routine the book said, because the book doesn’t know that you work nights or that, you know, you’re parenting by yourself or whatever, but a routine, whatever that is for your family, can be something that can be really helpful to babies managing their emotions. It also makes it much easier for parents to see those shifts in emotions and better understand their cues. Like if they’re hungry versus bored versus over tired, it’s much easier to see that when you guys kind of developed your own rhythm and routine, whatever that is…Ayelet: Right. When there’s a pattern to follow, you notice a pattern interrupt, whether you’re a baby or a grownup. Right?Brandi: Exactly. So the first step that I, for any client that I’m working with, it’s like, I need to see a log, tell me what’s happening with this baby, because it really, it feels like Groundhog day when you’re a new parent and you’re kind of like, in a barrage of either bottle feeding or breastfeeding or sitting on your sofa doing the same thing 10 times a day. It’s hard to kind of see that. And so just by doing the log, sometimes parents have their own epiphany, like, Oh my goodness, I’m seeing that from like one to six, like she she’s, you know, eating every five minutes and not really actually having a full meal. Like you might, you find these things, you’re able to do the log and say, if you’re not doing that, you’re dealing with, you know, eating problems, sleeping problems, breastfeeding problems. The first step is start to write it down, if you’re not already doing that, because that’ll one give you more information, but if you’re enlisting someone to help, you they’ll have a much better picture of the situation if it’s written down as well, you know? Yeah.Ayelet: Yeah. I want to just say too, I, I like your distinction of writing down the sort of routines and the patterns much more than, like, recording every single feed and that, like, it was on the left side, it was on the right side. He had three ounces, whatever. Like, because personally speaking in my own experience, like I definitely got into that like rigid need for control, which absolutely contributed to my own like early postpartum anxiety-style fun, you know? And, and so I think that suggestion that you just gave of, of a much more sort of top level, which is a harder thing to get your head around when you’re in it, right. But I totally appreciate it because I think it’s so important that we don’t stick to the minutia. And like, when I say this, I know this is a podcast and nobody can see my, my whole body is like, totally tensing up!Brandi: You’re prickling. Exactly. Like there is flexibility in parenting. There is so much room to like create your own system. And so the book is saying, your kid has to eat at nine, 12, three, maybe for your kid. That means seven, nine, 11,2. You know? And so when people ask me for a schedule, I always, I know it’s helpful to people to have a framework but I always kind of like do my own kind of like, ah, should I, should I not because I want people to know there’s so much flexibility. And it’s just kind of like get into the rhythm of figuring out what your rhythm is, because there will be a rhythm, even if it’s not what the book says, you guys have a rhythm. The question is whether or not it’s working for you or not, you know, and if it’s not working for you, then by all means, try something else.See if another system makes more sense or makes you feel at ease. If you’re doing anything that doesn’t bring the feeling of ease, don’t do that. You know? So it might seem like the thing that everyone’s doing and all the friends at the parenting circle are going to this class. This is what their person says, but if you do it and it makes you anxious or it makes you feel incompetent, or it makes you feel like you can’t get anything right. It’s probably not the thing for you to be doing. And I think that’s what I want parents to connect to more is having like more of a body compass check of like, you know what I feel really good. This feels easy. Like I’m doing this with ease. I don’t feel like I have to study for, you know, a calculus exam to figure out this thing. And if you’re feeling most of the time, you’re probably on the right track.Ayelet: Oh gosh. I mean, just that permission I think is like, that’s it for people. Fabulous. Thank you.Brandi: Well, thank YOU!Ayelet: I mean, it’s so important for, for parents to hear this! So, okay. So we’ve talked about some of those resources that are like the rigid ones, the, the book that says this, the book that says that what are actually some of the resources that you do like to recommend to families?Brandi: I mean, it’s hard because you know, there is so much of like our own parenting stuff and our culture wrapped up into it. And so a lot of the books discount other people’s culture, even if they have good tips. And so I always tell people like, take what you like and what you don’t just don’t pay attention to that. Like, don’t follow anything, but don’t let anyone, even myself cancel out what you know, to be true for yourself and your baby. You know, take it as compliments to your already amazing intuition, whether you believe that or not, you have it. It’s just starting to believe it is the, is the thing that we have to work on. And so, Happier, Calmer Parenting is one that I recommend. And surprisingly, one that I recommend that is not a parenting book at all is a book called The Big Leap.Ayelet: Yes, I’m reading that right now!Brandi: And for me, like literally the first 20 minutes that book was life changing to me because so much of it is learning to accept where we are ourselves in life, as perfect, and not in need of being fixed in, in worthy of like love and happiness every single day. And I think for me, like I recommend that to all parents to read because so much of the way we parent our children is wrapped up in our own self-worth… That if my kid is doing X or not doing this, I’m going to be either considered a good parent or a bad parent, and none of what our kids should be doing should be reflection of us. And so I feel like it’s such a great book to kind of get that idea that things could just be going right. Like we don’t have to plan for failure or for things to go bad.And I see that so much with the families that I work with, particularly babies that we do have this, like, you know, what if this happens or what if that happens? It’s like, and so much of that I think is things are going, it feels so good. And being a parent feels so good, we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop, you know? And it’s like, how do we train ourselves? Not to believe that something bad has to happen when you know, you are happy and doing well, and your kids are thriving so that we can pass that kind of feeling onto our kids.Ayelet: Absolutely. I think such a big part of this, too, is having that opportunity to be in community with other families, because that gives you the reflective practice of, Oh, you’re trying it that way. That looks like something I might want to try, or my goodness. I would never do that. I don’t think that sounds good to me at all, either way!Brandi: And finding that community that is going to be like that. There’s a lot of communities, but is it the community that’s going to be mom shaming or like, Oh, your kid has sugar or, you know, Oh, you’re bottle feeding. You know, like you gotta be really, you know, I tell people like, that’d be so protective of the people that you bring into your parenting village because it’s all those like, you know, it becomes, you know, like almost things like ideas, spread, feelings spread, if everyone’s doing one thing. Even if you instinctively feel like it’s not the right thing, you’re going to feel like you need to do it when everyone else is doing, because it also automatically becomes like this. Like, well, well maybe I’m picking the wrong thing. If these 10 people are saying, this is the right thing. So I tell people like, you want to make sure that you’re getting into spaces that are curated with the idea that there are so many ways to do the same thing and that no one is doing it wrong.Everyone’s figuring out like, what’s the best mix for that child because I have three kids and I’m not going to parent any of them the same. Nope. You know, if I’m doing it right. You know, so I think it’s, you know, being really mindful of how a community makes you feel, if you’re feeling the need to perform in a community to show up as something different, to not like, let your full hot mess self show up, then I want you to kind of rethink why you’re in that community. Is there a better community where you can a hundred percent be yourself and find people that you can have deep relationship with that you can lean on when things are going really bad when you don’t feel competent, because we all have those feelings of inadequacy, but you have to be within a real community to be able to share that and get those, you know, kind of pep talks and real talk from people. And you can’t do that when you’re not presenting your full self, because you’re either feeling insecure or are you wanting to meet some kind of standardAyelet: That’s right. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Brandi, where can people find you?Brandi: All my pages are public, so Brandi Jordan on Facebook, on Instagram, I’m brandijordanofficial. And then I have my free parenting support group that embodies a lot of what we’re talking about, which is Calm Is Contagious. And you can find that, on Facebook.Ayelet: Say it, say it one more time.Brandi: Calm is contagious.Ayelet: Perfect. Thank you, thank you so much.Brandi: Yeah, no, thank you. Thank you for all that you and just teaching people this idea of like more connection, less things, and you know, having some mindful relationships. So… The last thing that I wanted that I didn’t mention about babies for this last tip… Is touch. That’s one thing that we don’t talk enough about, like so many people in the world are under touch and that promotes more depression, more anxiety, more, all the things and the human mammal is the only mammal that can’t survive its infancy without touch. And so particularly in this time, we’re not, none of us are getting enough stimulation… taking time throughout the day, just to like, touch your baby. Like have a little bit of massage. If that’s just like five minutes before bedtime, if it was just playing with their hair before a nap, you know, just doing as much of that as possible. And just building so much in their brain, so much with the attachment and security and they need more of it because they’re not getting enough of that with like friends and seeing friendly faces when they’re out on walks, because we’re all masked up that we can kind of counteract that with providing them with more touch and physical interaction with them than we normally would.Ayelet: I love that. That’s great. How about for the parents who feel over touched?Brandi: I know a lot of moms who feel over-touched.Ayelet: Myself included. Yes.Brandi: I felt that very much so during breastfeeding, and then I was very overtouched, that I had to like actually have like blocks of time where I was like, not with baby, not with anyone. My husband would have to like give this 90 minutes span, in evening time where I was just over touched where I would go and just do my own thing, which meant not hearing, talking, or seeing, or touching anyone for 90 minutes. But I kind of like put that in purposely. And I think a lot of people don’t give themselves permission to say like, Hey, you know what, I’m a bit over touched. Like, you know, I would like it that you’re not doing a handstand and breastfeeding right now.And so knowing that it’s okay to make those boundaries for your body, you know, in those times where you’re feeling over touched, it might be good, not necessarily to be touching herself, but you know, you, you know, doing more of that for yourself, but finding ways to kind of release that. So taking a hot bath, doing, you know, a vaginal steam, which might seem like why would I do that for touching it’s about the release and then relaxation to kind of release that tension. Sometimes when you don’t want to be touched having something just like steam and heat can make you feel that release without like getting a massage or, you know, having someone, you know, caress you or et cetera, et cetera, that can be a way to release that. So those are the things that I recommend for someone who is feeling over touched to find ways to have that feeling of weightlessness or, you know, and you most likely will feel that in water. And so having a shower and nice bath, sometimes you just like be in your own space, you know, for me, like I like warm things. And so I can just like put myself in a cocoon, you know…Ayelet: My little hot water bottle has been my, my thing this, since it cooled down. Yeah, it’s great.Brandi: Well, you need that kind of relaxation. If you happen to not be a warm person, then doing things that make you feel cool. Maybe you’re like smelling a little peppermint, you know, doing like, you know, sometimes I would do like a cold towel and like put some eucalyptus or lavender on it and put in like in the fridge or the freezer, put them on the back of your neck and just like sit somewhere. Like if you’re a person who tends to be hot, you know, so just find ways to kind of have that release of tension, of frustration, whatever that is. If you can’t do it every day, you have to at least put it in one time a week. And if we can’t give back to ourselves, that means we need to redo our entire schedule. If we can’t give ourselves like one hour a week.Ayelet: I love it. Thanks Brandi. Thank you for that permission. So good.Thank you so much for your time and energy today. I really appreciate it. And I’m so happy to share this episode with listeners.Brandi: Oh, I’m so happy, as well. So thank you, and thanks for having me!The post What Conscious Parenting Is and Isn’t, with Brandi Jordan appeared first on Learn With Less.


29 Mar 2021

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Brandi Jordan, brilliant human, postpartum doula, newborn care specialist, and pediatric care specialist joins the DTFH for an intense one!Sign up for Brandi's online workshop, "Be Braver: an Anti-Racist Parenting Series," and check out Brandi's organization, The Cradle Company, for all your pregnancy and postpartum needs.This episode is brought to you by: Squarespace - Use offer code: DUNCAN to save 10% on your first site. Purple - Visit Purple.com/Duncan and use promo code DUNCAN for $150 Off any mattress order of $1500 or more! DHM Detox - Use offer code: DUNCAN at checkout and save 20% on your first order!

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