- Season 2, Episode 4: What’s so great about being a mom?
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Jeanette: [00:00:00] my son, Isaiah just the things he says these days are hilarious. A couple of weeks ago he was like, is today the future?
Jeanette: where do I start?
Kate: Welcome to model minority moms, where we talk about the complicated meaning of success in career, family and life.
Kate: I’m Kate Wong,
Susan: Jeanette park, and Susan.
Kate: Harvard classmates and Asian-American working moms to Little’s who get real about the pressures of fitting in while standing out.
Susan: Hello, and welcome to another episode of model minority moms. In today’s episode, we are going to talk about what’s actually so great about motherhood, because we’ve kind of been really talking about how it’s really hard. Let’s just create some space to actually talk about why, why even bother the first place.
Susan: So we all have [00:01:00] kids that are all different ages. I want you to think about this week what was a beautiful moment that you have with your kid?
Susan: I’ll start. Okay. Every day, after daycare I get Art going to walk and then we come back to my backyard and we go to these raspberry bushes and then I’ll pick the most. Like juicy like sugary raspberries, and I’ll just put them on my Palm and he just starts grabbing them and smacking his lips and eating them.
Susan: And it’s just, sometimes I’ll eat some, he’ll eat something. He’ll just wait for me to get some more. And he’s so present in eating these raspberries. He’s just like, you know, and he’s so cute doing it. And that’s all we’re doing in the world is like enjoying these raspberries. And I think before I had kids, I would have never thought that that was that meaningful of a moment.
Susan: But this is something I look forward to doing every day, because it’s so simple and easy and we’re just [00:02:00] there and it’s just, it’s just like so pure, you know, like it’s just so pure. So that’s our thing that we like to do that where I’m like, well, I, I would have never done this before. What about you two?
Susan: Like what, what are, what’s a really special, wonderful moment where you’re like, wow, I’m a mom. This is great. All the dividends are paying off right now.
Kate: You stole my raspberry story. I had one from this weekend.
Susan: Wait, no,
Kate: don’t worry. I’ll use a different example, but that did also happen. Yes. And she’s a raspberry fiend, and she wouldn’t share with me. She ate like 20 raspberries and then said, no, when I asked her if I could have one but anyway my story is a little Nirav thinks its a little weird, my husband. So I hope he doesn’t listen to this episode, although he’s a loyal fan, so maybe he will.
Kate: So when Raya was like maybe seven, eight months old, we started developing this routine where she would like stick her fingers in my mouth while she was bottle feeding or something. And she just really liked it, you know, [00:03:00] as you guys little fingers and she like scratching the inside of your mouth, but doesn’t really hurt.
Kate: Anyways. It’s become a thing with us where now I pretend to bite her fingers, but she really loves it. So it’s like this form of just like, we’re just horseplay. Right. But I always ask her, I’m like, Raya do you want it? And then she knows exactly what I’m talking about. Cause I’m just like making biting noises with my mouth.
Kate: I know this sounds really creepy. Probably. Maybe I should stop right here. But anyway, she left, if she says no, then I don’t. But then she’s like, yeah. Yeah. So then like pretend to bite her fingers. She’s just, I don’t know. There’s something about her. I’d like, pretend that I’m going to go for it. And then she just like starts giggling hysterically and like sometimes trying to stick her hand in, but then not.
Kate: And it’s just really funny because it’s such a strange thing. Right. But it’s so fun and innocent and she’s just having, we’re both having lots of fun and yeah, that’s our little, our little ritual that only the two of us do. And maybe my husband’s just jealous cause he doesn’t have that with her piece.
Kate: I’m like, I mean, I always ask for her permission. So
Jeanette: it’s like [00:04:00] a pretend tiger Cub thing.
Kate: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes I do it with her feet too, but I also question like, can I, and then she’d be like, no,
Kate: and then I’ll be like, okay.
Susan: Yeah, I definitely love biting or pretend biting art’s feet, but I haven’t done this whole consent thing, which I should probably start doing.
Kate: Well, I only read about it. No, dude. I read about it recently. Cause I didn’t think about it. You know, when she was like, before she could communicate, she’s like seven to eight months, I guess. Apparently we’re supposed to do it then too. Like even if they don’t understand or like can talk your supposed to say mommy is going to like bite your fingers now.
Kate: Okay. Or something like that. I was like, oh no, I haven’t that I should ask her for consent. Especially, well, they’re thinking, especially with like girls, right? Like just the, they understand that, you know, intimate activity, whatever it is, like should be any, you know, any kind of physical intimacy. Somebody getting close to you should be done with consent.
Kate: Anyway, I read that right.
Susan: Learning about the boundaries of bodies. This is my body. And I can tell [00:05:00] you if it’s okay or not. Yeah. Yeah.
Jeanette: I think with Ruth does a similar thing where when When she feeds, she likes to stick her fingers in my mouth and I pretend bite them. And she thinks it’s, I don’t know why
Kate: Thank you, Jeanette.
Kate: It’s totally normal. Weird because he kept saying that it’s like weird.
Jeanette: No, I think it’s totally normal. Another thing she likes to do is also while she’s feeding, she, we started this thing where she’ll like breathe kind of hard, like, and then I’ll follow the same pattern.
Jeanette: And then it kind of became a game where she would breathe, like in a different pattern. Like, like she’ll do it three times and then I’ll do it three times or she’ll do one big one and I’ll do one big one. And then she kinda like gives me a little smile while she’s eating. And yeah, it’s just like one of these things like likes isn’t what you’re saying is so, so.
Jeanette: Just like it’s a game, but it has no purpose, no end goal. It’s just about being with each other and being [00:06:00] present and yeah, it’s like, it’s lovely. That’s with my daughter. And then with my son, Isaiah just the things he says these days are hilarious. A couple of weeks ago he was like, is today the future?
Jeanette: where do I start? And we just came back from a week long vacation. I was driving him to school after a week away. And I was like, Hey, are you feeling happy or sad about going back to school and seeing your teachers and friends? And he said, I feel
Jeanette: I was like, yeah, I dunno, maybe listeners, we might get some comments like it. Okay. I feel like we have a, we try to create a very. Emotionally supportive environment, but it’s interesting because I think both my husband and I are a little bit, like when we’re under situations of stress, we tend to suppress our emotions.
Jeanette: That’s our kind of our natural go-to. And it’s funny to already see that in our son where I feel [00:07:00] like we’re trying to keep him in touch with his emotions. I feel like he is kind of a sensitive kid, but that’s also his go-to, you know, thing, like if he feels like he’s entering even a little bit of a sensitive situation, he just kind of suppresses his feelings.
Jeanette: So yeah, just the things that he says, are hilarious
Susan: is today the future. I mean,
Susan: it’s a good question.
Kate: How did you answer that one? Yeah.
Jeanette: Well, I just said, well, the future is the thing, the time that hasn’t happened yet. So a part of today’s the future, because not all of today happen, but the part of today, like now is the present and the part
Jeanette: past is the past. So
Kate: did he get it.
Kate: That’s, that’s pretty sophisticated. I feel.
Jeanette: Yeah. I think he, around this time, I mean, also talking to friends is the whole concept of time is emerging. And so he doesn’t completely like comprehend, like [00:08:00] what is a day? Sometimes he’ll say after he wakes up from his nap, he’ll say, is it tomorrow?
Jeanette: You know? Or like, as he’s going to sleep at night, he’ll be like, when I wake up, it’ll still be today. And I’ll say, no, it’ll be tomorrow. I’m going to, he’ll get super upset. He’ll be like, no, it’s going to still be today. I’m like, okay. So he’s, he’s kind of grappling with this idea of time and units of time, right?
Jeanette: Like days, weeks, months he, he asked me like, it’s Christmas today where he’ll ask me you know, when, when it’s Christmas, will I still be a toddler? Sorry, one other hilarious thing he said related to this is, you know, so my son is three. My daughter is 10 months old and we talked to him about how his younger sister is going to become a toddler to one day.
Jeanette: And he said, so when Ruth is a toddler, will I go into your belly? Which is a totally logical question, right? I mean, if you [00:09:00] don’t really know how life progresses and you’re like, oh yeah, I know that I was a baby ones, but now my baby sister’s a baby. So when she becomes a toddler, will we just like switch places?
Jeanette: So yeah, he just asked the best questions, I think.
Susan: Yeah. It’s I, I guess what I’m deducing from this is like, who’s wrong and who’s right. You know what I mean? Because like, in a way their brains are so fresh without so much judgment and exposure and all this stuff, like their questions are so pure.
Susan: There’s it’s do we really understand time? Are we living parallel lives? You know, they’re so in the present where it maybe worse where I read somewhere that 50% of the time we’re just not paying it. You know, like we’re, we’re actually not in the present moment and we’re thinking about something else.
Susan: Have you ever driven somewhere? It was like, how did I even get here? And all of a sudden you’ve arrived and [00:10:00] you’re like, I’m so glad I didn’t get in an accident. Like they are. So in the present moment that I feel like when I observe Art I feel like I’m doing some unlearning here, you know? Or I see him approach things with so much curiosity and so much newness.
Susan: And or when he falls down, when he’s trying to practice the standing, he keeps failing, keeps failing. I see it as like, oh, it’s failure. But he, he just sees it as practice, you know? Like I’m, I feel like in a way sometimes, like I need to, to undo what I’ve learned because it’s not always very helpful.
Jeanette: Yeah, no, totally.
Jeanette: I think well, you know, Michael Pollan’s book, changing your mind. Which is not about microdosing Susan, but he has it, like a section where he talks about kids and he’s talking to a child psychologist. And he describes how young children are essentially always tripping, because I guess part of going on a trip is that you lose a sense of time.
Jeanette: Right. You’re fully in the present and kind of [00:11:00] like past, I don’t know, I’ve never gone on trip. So it’s like, I don’t really know what it’s exactly like, but in the descriptions, it seems like you kind of lose your ego. Right? You lose like the sense of your past self and your future self. And
Jeanette: This child psychologist talks about how children are like that really like until the age of three or four, they don’t have the sense of their past self and their future self.
Jeanette: And so they’re always living in the present and in that way, they’re kind of like always on mushrooms or something. Right. So it’s, that’s just an interesting side.
Susan: I feel like if I did that more, like really lived in the present state of like, worrying about judgment or, you know, tapping into some triggered emotion or whatever, like wouldn’t we live such happier lives.
Jeanette: I think it’s a good discipline to have. I mean, it’s hard, right. Because some of the things we learned, I think a lot of it is helpful, but some of it’s just not helpful and they kind of sometimes come together. [00:12:00]
Susan: I feel like when there’s something related to family stuff, before I make a decision or respond to an email or a phone call, like I, I hyper analyze it and try to figure out all the options.
Susan: Like what’s going to reduce the most disappointment, you know, or whatever. And it’s like, I spend so much energy trying to reduce pain with people who trigger me instead of just like, I’m just going to call them. You know, like I just there’s something about children’s that, that, that, that I’m starting to find really inspiring that I never really paid attention to before I had kids.
Jeanette: Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I think everything you’re saying is absolutely true. It’s just
Jeanette: the being present and the innocence and what you were saying about them trying and trying again. And I just watch, like my daughter, Ruth, she’s also still like learning to stand up and kind of cruise and stuff and, you know, just, she just doesn’t worry, like, okay, did I try this way?
Jeanette: Like hard enough, right. She’s just like, tries it a couple times. And if it’s not working for her, she just moves on to
Jeanette: the next [00:13:00] thing.
Jeanette: And, but like every day she’s making progress. Right. And
Jeanette: it’s fascinating to watch because I think at this point in my life, I overthink a lot of that. And it, that overthinking itself consumes a lot of energy energy that I could actually put towards just
Jeanette: doing it.
Susan: Okay. I have a weird question to ask you, do you, when you see pictures of your kids, does it give you a dopamine hit? Like, do you like feel really good all over your body and go, like, there’s just so cute.
Susan: How did that come out of me? There’s such an angel. Like, do you go through this? Like, does it make you feel positive?
Susan: Like, do you, do you feel that like, [00:14:00] there’s something happening that isn’t nor is this normal? Because I’m like, now I just like, look at pictures and sometimes when he’s asleep, I like, look at his pictures. I’m like, what am I?
Jeanette: Yeah, I totally do that. Before I sleep, I’ll lie in bed and I’ll scroll through old pictures of our kids.
Jeanette: Like, I’ll show them. Jake. Yeah, totally dopamine and oxytocin, like just flowing all over
Jeanette: my brain.
Kate: Is this also work? I remember when I was pumping and trying to establish my milk supply, one of the tips was to just flip through photos of your baby while you pump, and it’s supposed to make you like happy and relaxed and more emotionally connected to them.
Kate: Right. Because as opposed to breastfeeding, you don’t actually have the baby latch into your boob. It’s just a machine. And so, yeah, that, and plus like listening to some relaxing or meditate, like, you know, music or meditation is supposed to be really helpful, but yeah, it’s, I think it’s, it definitely does trigger, you know, a cascade of chemical reactions in your brain and that’s a good sign, right?
Kate: It’s a sign of attachment. [00:15:00] And we also do the review every night in bed, even though. You know, we go through our phones and we’re like, Raya review. Okay. Let’s look at all her photos. And the Nirav is actually the worst or best, depending on how you look at it. He’ll just like flip back
Kate: and repeatedly play videos that he likes like 10 times.
Kate: And I’m like, okay, you just watched that three times. I’m done. Bye. And he’s like, no, I want to watch it again. Anyway, it was really
Kate: cute. It’s cute.
Susan: Yeah. Like 10 times we do that too. Like, there’s this one art video where he’s at daycare and there’s a little, little plastic Playhouse. And then I go hi and then he like smacks open one of the shutters and then walks away and we think it’s so funny.
Susan: I just remember pre kids, I’d be like, oh yeah, you had a kid. And then they’re like, yeah, you want to see photos? And I like, don’t really show me all the photos. I don’t know. To like politely transition to, can we talk about what we’re supposed to talk about?
Susan: Like, like they’ll just keep going and I didn’t find them [00:16:00] terribly interesting, but now I totally get it. And I apologize in advance to anyone when I’m like, Hey, do you want to see some photos? Like, it’s, it’s so strange. Like because I always had this debate, like, why have kids, if you could adopt kids, right.
Susan: There’s kids out there that as they age and get older, they’re less likely to get adopted. So I have my, when I talk about it, I’m like Marvin like let’s consider this option first before even having kids. And he was like, no. And I was like, why, why? I was like, is it because we’re egotistical people, we just want this creature to look like us and exist in the world when we’re gone.
Susan: Like, why must we actually have kids. You know, and I was like, so curious about that, but now I realize I’m going on the other topic.
Jeanette: That’s fine. We can, we can be flexible. Yeah, when Jake and I were in college [00:17:00] adoption was something we talked about more seriously. I mean, we weren’t married in college,
Jeanette: but like, we both individually I think had some interest in it.
Jeanette: And then when we were together, we were like, well, if we got married, maybe we would adopt.
Jeanette: I mean, I think this just touches on so many areas, right. That many of which are very personal, right? Like your values, your religious beliefs, like all of that. And there was a part of me that was like, well, you know, if every life is equal then, you know, they’re already these kids in the world who don’t have homes. Shouldn’t we adopt them. And so I think that that’s something that we had talked about. It’s something that I feel is still possible in the future for us, but I feel like I see it as a more challenging thing now than when I was you know, in my twenties because I’m, I know folks who have adopted several different people.
Jeanette: And it’s just, it’s, it’s not an easy journey at all. [00:18:00] And sometimes, like, I wonder if I had a little bit of a messianic complex too, like, you know, I’m going to take this kid who would be in really bad circumstances and I’m going to give him, or her such a better life and they’re going to be like the next Steve jobs may be right.
Jeanette: Or whatever. But I think the reality of it is a lot of kids who are up for adoption, you know, are coming from situations that are really tough. And even in utero, may have been exposed to different influences that will make it more challenging for adoptive parents to raise their, so there’s like a lot of things there that we can talk about, but, you know, generally I just see it as a very still admirable thing to do, but something that people should go in with really eyes wide open about how difficult.
Kate: Yeah, I think jeanette’s right. When I was younger I thought, oh, you know, adoption would be great, et cetera. Especially to go to like a liberal institution. Everybody around me was like, yes, like adopt et cetera, theoretically. Yes. But now that I’m actually a parent, I don’t think I could ever, I could [00:19:00] not in my current state adopting, it’s not because of resources.
Kate: It’s not because of theoretical you know, need it’s because you know, we’re going through a challenging time with Raya right now. She’s got these big feelings. I texted you guys this morning with like, oh my God, meltdowns. She hit me. And I’m thinking I’m not in a place emotionally and psychologically where if this child were not my biological child, I mean, it’s already tough enough, right.
Kate: With Raya because it triggers a lot of things for me about my childhood and how I was raised. And you know, I’m trying to work on it. And I hate saying this is probably gonna earn me some. I don’t know, hate mail or something, but I don’t, I’m not saying that having a biological child is better than having a adopted child.
Kate: It’s just that every person is a very, in a very different mental state and not everyone is in the right mindset to adopt a child. It’s very different. Right. And, I was thinking of this. Do you guys hear about the this controversy that happened, these YouTube influencers last year called [00:20:00] the staffers.
Kate: Do you remember this? So, okay. So they’re these big YouTube stars. They’re like, I dunno, million followers or many hundreds of thousands. And they have like quite a few of their own biological children. And then they adopted this child from China, like three years ago, I think. And, you know, they put it all over YouTube.
Kate: It was like the adoption during all this crying blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And people were just like, oh, it’s so amazing. Dah, dah, dah, dah. But then apparently it’s like really terrible thing. It just feels gross saying this. They had to rehome adopted child because, and they weren’t really clear. They were just like, it was not a good fit, all this stuff.
Kate: Anyway, they got criticized so much because they’re like, you know, you made money off of this child, et cetera, et cetera. But I, you know, I felt that the tragic side of that, you know, critics aside, whatever you think they might’ve done, it’s just that it’s really hard. I mean, they may have, you know, done it for not kosher reasons, but even if they had, it’s just not easy, you know, I think he had some you know the child had.
Kate: Mental and emotional needs that were really tough, right. For any [00:21:00] family. And obviously, maybe this is just definitely not the right family. But I just think that we do glamorize weirdly enough, right. Adoption, like, especially upper-middle-class people. We just think it’s like the greatest thing to do.
Kate: And if you can, you should. But it’s just not that easy. I mean, raising a child sorry I know we’re supposed to be all positive and everything, but it, you go through it’s really, it can be really difficult. You have to really, re-examine your attitudes towards your values, your self, your relationship with your spouse your relationship with your own parents.
Kate: It’s really, and it’s great. I think actually, you know, as a positive note, I think it’s really great that it’s forcing me to do this because I don’t know if any other external force would have, you know, pushed me to this state. But I was like, I don’t know if I could have done it with an adopted child necessarily, because I think it’s just, I don’t know how to say this in a way again, where it doesn’t sound like cruel or rude, but.
Kate: Your biological child that you’ve carried and you’ve given birth to her. And even if you haven’t, there’s just, there’s something intangible there. And I think that does make a difference for a lot of people. I’m [00:22:00] not saying it does for everyone, but I think for me, I realized after this experience of having, you know, my own biological child, I don’t think I’m in a state currently to even think about adoption, like mentally and emotionally.
Kate: I’m just, I don’t wouldn’t trust myself, you know, even if I wanted to, I would say Kate, you cannot.
Susan: Right, right. That’s I mean, what we’re saying is it’s super personal. It’s a very personal choice. I guess what’s missing in this conversation is a control person where they have both a biological kid and an adopted kid.
Susan: And then you can really hear that perspective. Right. We’re just saying from the outside, it’s like, you have to. Be really prepared.
Jeanette: You read about these rehoming things, which I feel like should be more publicized, honestly, not to shame those families.
Kate: Can we clarify what recom is for people who.
Kate: Oh, yeah. I didn’t really explain it.
Jeanette: Jeanette. Why don’t you? Oh yeah. So like rehoming yeah. As you adopt a child, , I think this more commonly occurs with kids who are internationally adopted because there’s much less regulatory oversight over that [00:23:00] whole process.
Jeanette: If you adopt a kid domestically, there’s a social worker who’s assigned to your case who will like follow up with you over the, I think at least like the medium term, but with a lot of these international adoptions, it doesn’t go through that. There’s no regulatory oversight. And so, you know, you will adopt a child from China or Russia or like some, some other place.
Jeanette: And if you feel like you cannot have that kid in your home anymore, you find another adoptive home for that kid. That’s what rehoming means. And you know, I think what’s so, so heartbreaking about it is that, you know, this kid’s already been. Traumatized once, like deeply traumatized, like to an extent where, you know, it’s questionable if they’ll ever really recover from that, but then you’re retraumatizing them in the same way.
Jeanette: And it’s just you know, it’s very hard. Yeah.
Susan: Yeah. But at the end of the day, it’s like, as a parent, can I be a good parent to this child? You know, can I, [00:24:00] can I put them in a safe situation and all that? And like, you know, you have to be honest with yourself if you’re not.
Kate: Susan, you were saying earlier about how, when you were not, you didn’t have kids and you just thought it was like silly that people wanted to show you photos of their kids.
Kate: I think there are a lot of these things, right. You know, when I did not have a kid, I had just all these thoughts about, oh, well that can’t be that hard or this should work like this. Right. And then yeah, what the fuck, no one told me about this. Or like, wow, this is, you know, and, and right. I saw that side, he made it sound like really dramatic, but it’s, it’s just a lot of it, it brings, it’s not just a function of okay. Keeping your child alive. Like, are they eating? Like, are they healthy? I think for me that’s [00:25:00] like the easy part, even if it does cause sleep deprivation in the first year, that’s like, I feel like that was like the easier part now that I think about it mentally, because I think the hardest part now is really as a, as a parent or as a mom, dad, I’m sure dads as well.
Kate: Is the process. Learning a lot more about yourself and then unlearning a lot of behaviors or ways of thinking that you’ve gotten used to before you had a kid, but you’re now not healthy. And potentially, you know, can impact, you know, your child who is this, like we all said innocent, you know, creature.
Kate: I feel like that’s the real work, right. For me as I’m realizing, it’s not just, okay, what school should my child go to? Or like, what college should they apply to? That’s like the easy work, which I know. Sorry, not saying that it’s. It’s not hard, but for me, I feel like that’s the easy part, the hardest part, but also the most rewarding to sound like a broken record.
Kate: And a cliche is really the work that you do on yourself as a parent, especially if you come from like, I think all three of us come from [00:26:00] immigrant backgrounds where we have a lot of trauma in our, both in our parents’ generation that have trickled down to us, but also in our childhoods growing up. Right. Just different forms of emotional or physical trauma and got to work through that shit now. Cause there’s another creature
Susan: yeah, no, I I’m a hundred percent everything you just said. I remember when I first got married, I was like, whoa, this is deep personal growth work like this person’s like legally bound.
Susan: We’re bound to each other. My God. And then having the baby was like, like personal growth, like, like all the things of around like unconditional love my inner child, all that like, like re major magnifying glass. And I said, I’m really seeing all this stuff. And so I’m curious for you, Kate, what’s the thing.
Susan: Did you have a recent aha moment about yourself that you can share? Or what is the thing that you’re working on right now when you’re like, you’re like, kind of thank you child for teaching me that, but a child while [00:27:00] he was freaking out, like what’s going on specifically for you right now.
Kate: Yeah, totally.
Kate: Well, what I texted you guys about, right. You know my daughter is kind of like going through this big, big toddler feeling phase at first, started out with like lots of crying which is normal. But then she started hitting me recently, just mostly me, you know, like not, it doesn’t hurt. It’ll just be like, when she’s really mad and I know objectively like I read all this stuff.
Kate: Like they’re having big feelings, they can’t control their feelings. Like it’s not personal. So I don’t, I don’t feel offended, but I think in general, I think because of my relationship with my parents and how I grew up. I just get really like physically I can feel it in my body really tense when she starts like, You know, melting down nonstop, and then hitting me, even though I know objectively really, you know, I must say the words like, you know, you can’t hit, mommy hurts.
Kate: We don’t hit people with certainly. And I’ll say that, but today, this morning was like, it was just like one after the other. I had to like barge into [00:28:00] the bedroom where my husband was taking a call. You need you gotta take over. And actually I learned this from last time, because last time when I texted you guys also similar situation without the hitting, I got so upset.
Kate: I yelled at her. Right. And I was like, I can’t, I can’t do that this time. So I had to step out. And so I, I realized that like, I get triggered by certain situations, you know, with her. And again, I think I mentioned this in a previous episode, just reading about it in one of these child development books.
Kate: It’s because, you know, if you’ve gone through certain things as a child, you may not think about it consciously every day as an adult, but in situations when you have a child and they cry or get upset, it could trigger something just unconscious in you and it could be physical. It can be just your reaction.
Kate: I kind of just like, I don’t really know what to do. Like I know what I should do, but it’s very hard to execute that. And so that’s something that I need to like work on more. I mean, I’m at least aware of ways in which I could protect myself and my daughter in that situation, I would just like, have my husband go, you know, deal with it.
Kate: If I’m just feeling like I can’t, I can’t handle it, but it’s really hard. Right. [00:29:00] Yeah, it’s in anything. It’s one thing to say, you know, oh yes, these are the things that you’re supposed to do. And you know, here are the things that you’re supposed to say. I’m just like, yeah, I guys, I, you know, I totally understand that.
Kate: I know that I read all that stuff too, but when it comes to execution, it’s really hard, you know, you have to, and I think the only way to really work on that is just, well, we’ve talked about it before, but like therapy, you know, work, having a partner who can respond and, you know, work with you on it anyway.
Kate: Yeah. So, and also giving yourself grace. Right? I always feel like total crap if I snap back at my daughter, cause she hit me. But you know, as long as they don’t make that a habit, if it happens once, like I can always go back and apologize to her. I hadn’t done that today, but she’s probably forgotten by now, but anyway, so yeah.
Susan: Do you feel sad or resentful that she doesn’t do it to your husband?
Kate: No, I don’t, because I know that actually our babysitters told us whenever babysitters that works at a daycare center and she was like, oh, you know, we noticed that the children are the [00:30:00] meanest to the parent. They love the most, which is usually their mom.
Kate: She was like, I see all the kids coming and like hitting their moms are yelling at their moms and they don’t do that to the teachers. We don’t do it like as much to their dads it’s because, and she explained it it’s because the kids feel safer. Like they feel like whatever they do or say their mom will still love them.
Kate: Yeah. And so they’ll just act out more with their mom, which is kind of interesting into like, intuitively you wouldn’t think like, if you love somebody, shouldn’t you be nicer to them, but in this it’s in this case, it’s because they feel safer, you know, being all emotional. So I guess, you know, if I take a step back, I should.
Kate: I don’t know, happy, but I should be grateful that she feels comfortable enough to be so upset so that she would hit me, but not necessarily her dad or other people.
Jeanette: Yeah. I think moms are kind of like the emotional dumpster for their kids, you know, it’s just like, yeah, my kids are similar.
Jeanette: My husband’s like, oh yeah, Isaiah never acts like that [00:31:00] when he’s out with me. And when he’s with me, he just gets so like, he cries a lot. He has a lot of complaints. And he, he can just fuss a lot. But yeah, it’s hard Kate, right? Because you’re often tired. I tried to remember, okay, like he feels safe with me. That’s why he’s, he’s able to be like this. Right. And what my therapist also says is that, you know, kids individuate like they become, their own person and one of the ways is through anger, they’re expressing anger.
Jeanette: And so they’re also kind of testing the waters, like, well, if I’m angry and if I am sad and if I have these negative feelings, like how are you going to respond? Right. Are you going to create a safe space for that? For me to like, go through these things and figuring out who I am, or are you going to become dysregulated, right.
Jeanette: And are you going to like, make it feel, not safe? You know, and, and I think that actually, like, that’s one of the [00:32:00] things that I’m trying to work through in therapy, in my case, in my family, apart from that one episode that I told you guys about yelling at my third grade teacher, I never, I don’t have any recollection of throwing a tantrum with my parents or being super angry at them.
Jeanette: Right. Because like, I think my parents, because of their own traumas and, and because of like their own, you know, things that they chose to do they became emotionally dysregulated a lot of times when they were under stress. And so if I was really sad or angry, you know, it just didn’t feel like a safe space.
Jeanette: And I think because of that, in some ways I’m still trying to figure out, well, like, what do I want? Like, is it okay for me to be angry? Even, I think it’s coming out in this podcast, right. Sometimes when I say things and I started apologizing and then I listened to myself, you know, in editing and I’m like, wow, why did I apologize for that?
Jeanette: And her, me too. Right. But I think a lot of it is stemmed kind of in my childhood. And yeah. And, and having a kid forces you to think about these things a lot [00:33:00] more,
Kate: I think you and I had the same experience around, you know, caregiver emotions, or, you know, sort of dysregulated emotion growing up. But I respond in a different way as recently talking to a new therapist and, you know, he was like, it’s. Cause when you are around someone, you know, anybody in your family who is emotionally narcissistic, you end up not working on your own emotions and figuring out how you.
Kate: You know, con either control them or moderate them or express them. And so you just kind of like, you know, suppress, but then it can burst. Right. So I think for me, I have that issue where I never really learned how to in a healthy manner find an outlet for how I feel. So just kind of just gets like all bottled up and then it comes out and like, I snap at my husband or I, you know, it’s like over nothing.
Kate: Right. I think with all the fights that my husband I have had in there, literally over something just stupid I’m will be comfortable saying that it was like stupid. We have not really had [00:34:00] any fights over like the things that probably most people have fights over. Right. And it’s mostly because I just like snap at something really small.
Kate: And I think it comes from my inability to really like regulate my, my emotion. It’s all related to, you know, how we grew up and things like that. So not that I want to make it again. I feel like part of this episode is like, ah, so is there any hope, but I think the hope is when you have a kid.
Kate: If you’re like in a reasonably stable state.
Kate: Right. And you’re reasonably self-aware, you can definitely, you know, these are things that kind of spur you to work on them. And it’s funny because like recently I was reading or somebody was asking me, I can’t remember, like, how do you know you’re ready to have a kid, right? Because like, if you have so many issues, I have friends who are like, well, I’m still working through some of these issues.
Kate: Like, I don’t know that I’m really ready emotionally, mentally. Like, I don’t want to put, you know, put my issues on, onto a child, things like that. And so I’m going to ask the two of you, what would you advise somebody? Right. Like, let’s say it was yourself pre-child and you had these concerns, like, well, I’m seeing a therapist, I got to work through [00:35:00] these things that I had with my parents.
Kate: I don’t think I’m ready to have a child. What would you say to that person?
Jeanette: I don’t know why but my brain always reverts to cave people. And I am like in cave women times, , you know, we actually would not even have had the choice. I don’t know if cave people had consensual sex or not, but for most cave women they would have just gotten pregnant.
Jeanette: Right. Probably sometime in their teens or something. And they would have just had the kid and they would just been forced into the experience. It might’ve been terrible. Because it was like, if they have a lot of traumas, like they have no way to control it, but they would have just been forced in situation.
Jeanette: Whereas for women, in the modern age, many of us do have a lot of control over when and if to get pregnant. And so, yeah, that’s just a side note. Right. But we’re in this interesting time where we can choose.
Jeanette: I have a more straightforward answer about marriage, right? Because you’re entering into a relationship with a person who is also a grownup, hopefully.
Jeanette: And that’s also a way you can kind of hold up a magnifying glass to yourself and[00:36:00] figure out that you have some things you need to work through.
Susan: I think my response to the question, how do I know if I’m ready? I have two thoughts there. The first one is around perfectionism and I think as women we are so like, we’re swimming in water of the pressures of being perfect all the time and having shame about things and wanting to fix and be the solution so much all the time.
Susan: We’re swimming. It’s like the water that we swim in that we’re surrounded by and we don’t even know it. Okay. So that’s the first thing, which is if your friend really wants to have a baby and we all know the fertility journey, does it doesn’t happen. Possibly the next month, right? It could take a long time if she knows she wants that.
Susan: And yes, there’s all this stuff she needs to work on. Go do it, you know, start your fertility journey because we’re never going to be perfect. And I don’t think we’ll ever reach a point where we feel so satisfied. And we were like, I am now done [00:37:00] with my issues because I don’t think we’re ever dealt with our issues.
Susan: And once you had the kid, yeah, you’re on this fast track to like start resolving some of these things and getting different types of support for it, because now there’s another being that is dependent on you. So part one is nobody’s perfect. Just go do it now. Part two is something that I’ve been thinking about, which is your resentment to regret ratio.
Susan: So if you’re kind of like, okay, I really want to have a kid and maybe you don’t say this conscious leader yourself, but maybe you’re like, I’m going to live vicariously. All of the stuff that I regretted not doing, or all these expectations that I have for them is because of my own stuff. And I’m going to completely project it and then become that scary tiger mom, helicopter, mom, whatever, you know, all the ways that society continues to villainize moms.
Susan: If you know that you’re going to do that or the reason why you want to have a kid is because [00:38:00] you want to fill a void of your own stuff. I think you just have to be really aware of that. Cause I think that can become really dangerous. It seems like with millennials, like we’re trying to be really proactive about it and more self-aware, but at the same time, that’s a real danger.
Susan: And then, then the kid is we’ll have it, you know, you’re going to have to pay for their therapy in the future, you know, and they’re going to be like, you really messed me up. And like, the last thing we want to do is mess up our kids. But you actually might be the conduit for doing that. So I think you have to really distinguish that and be really honest with yourself of like, why do you want to have kids?
Susan: Like, is it filling, filling something very insecure in you where you, where you think this is going to solve it, whereas you actually have to do the work to solve it first. You get what I’m saying? So like no clear answer, but I really do think that if people really want to have kids go do it, because, [00:39:00] because there’s nobody out there in the world, that’s going to be like, you’re fixed, you’re done.
Susan: Pass, go collect $200. You’re good. Now, you know, like no one is going to give that to ourselves, but us was that like the most complicated, complex not answer.
Jeanette: What do you mean by resentment to regret ratio? Can you talk about that?
Susan: Yeah. Well, I just made it up. I mean, they’re just like scribbling on it.
Susan: Well, I mean, okay. Here it is with me. Yeah, I guess really, I’m just talking about myself. We’re always just, I have a friend, but really it’s just yourself. Is like, I really wanted to be a performance artist. I really want to be an entertainer. I really wanted to like be on stage. I didn’t know how, and, and I had gotten so much pressure to have kids from my dad and my aunties and I’m, I’m getting older and my mid thirties and I’m feeling very anxious because I, I just feel like I didn’t, I still had one more thing I really needed to do before I had kids and not saying, once you have kids?
Susan: You can’t [00:40:00] pursue your dreams or you can’t do that. But I really needed to have more of a running headstart in this freelancing path. You know, and I think if I had kept waiting and waiting and then had the kids, I just feel like I’d be really resentful to them and everything I was doing had this like underlying subconscious anger.
Susan: And I wanted to deal with my own fear of failure and my own worry that I never lived life for me. I don’t know if either of you went through that where you’re like this needs to happen before then?
Kate: I feel like I had done a lot of things that I wanted to do before I had kids. That’s the other thing too, right?
Kate: Is that I don’t, you know, I think if for some people I hear them say, oh, I regret having kids so young because X, Y, Z, or but I think my husband, I had like done a lot of things that we wanted to do. And when I think about having kids, it was almost like. The next adventure, the next learning opportunity.
Kate: Sorry, not to distill [00:41:00] children down to just an adventure or a learning opportunity, but it was
Kate: just some it’s it’s
Kate: I think viewing it like that, it was really helpful for me. Like I, I’m never, I’m not a very like maternal person in the sense of, oh, I always have wanted to have kids. Cause I love kids.
Kate: Sorry. I don’t like love other people’s kids.
Susan: I yeah, no, you too. Me too. You know, I’m not like,
Kate: I mean they are, but you know what I mean? I’m not
Kate: gonna like talk like that. So
Kate: I’m sorry, like you get me back to my original point. So, yeah. And, but I think, you know, because I know I ha I know some people who have chosen to remain child-free health free by choice, I think is the term. Right. And I think it’s great for them because they know what they want.
Kate: They know that, you know, they’re happy with their life. They feel like they can go on a lot of different adventures and that’s very fulfilling for them. And then for me, I think like, oh, this is an adventure. It’s very fulfilling. It’s lots of fun. Of course. I guess there are other things that I may not be able to do the same way that I did before, but I also think that like, you just gotta be [00:42:00] realistic, right?
Kate: You can’t it’s not like your life is over. It’s more just like you have to be flexible and think that I’ll do things differently. Just can’t do it the same way that I’ve always done it. It’s the same thing with marriage, right. There are a lot of things you do in a specific way, and you just kind of have to learn how to compromise.
Kate: But I guess child is just taking that to another level.
Kate: yeah, it’s like the ultimate. Self-help not saying that’s the reason why you should have a
Kate: child, but as it turns out, It has like become surprise. It’s also about you. Yeah. Yeah.
Kate: And the thing of it being about us, I think one thing that is really helpful for me is also thinking of my daughter, as you know, she’s her own person, I was talking about this with a friend of mine and we were actually talking about it in in a biblical sense because Jeanette I think you’ll get my reference here, which is that, you know, we don’t own our children.
Kate: Right. Unlike maybe traditional Asian cultural perspectives, like your child is extension of [00:43:00] you. And like, you know, in, in traditional societies, like your parents had power over you until you, well, even after you left home, you went to your in-laws if you’re woman. But anyway whereas I think, you know, to bring a little bit of faith into it, it’s that every person, child, adult You know, God’s child, which also makes, you know, my friend made the point.
Kate: She was like your, your daughter’s mother, but you are both children of God. Right. And that is a really interesting relationship. And I oftentimes think that the dynamic between parent and child, as we talk about it in today’s society, it’s very like you know, Parents are up here and then children are down here and it’s, it’s this very one way dynamic.
Kate: And so I try to think more now in terms of, I have the stewardship of my daughter for the next 18 years or however, you know and what can I do to take the best care of this little being who has been gifted to us, right. She’s not mine. I mean, she’s ours in the sense that she’s half my genetic half, my husband’s genetics and she’s living in our home, but I don’t own her.
Kate: And I think [00:44:00] that’s a really like freeing concept in many ways. And that, you know, it also will be helpful when she has to go through things of her own. I can’t prevent her from experiencing pain loss and many other things, but if I can be there with her right. And support her. And I don’t know if I would’ve thought about parenting like that before, but I feel like in the lens of, you know, my faith, it actually helped me.
Kate: A lot. It helps to clarify a lot how, you know, how to see that parent child dynamic. And I don’t think yet, again, something that I didn’t realize until after I had a kid little,
Susan: it kind of also room it like releases that pressure valve of like you’re completely responsible for their entire future, you know, like it, when you say they’re also, you know, I’m not, I’m not Christian, I’m not religious here.
Susan: I would say in like self prescribed spiritual here, but like when you also say they’re a child of God, it, it helps. It just takes off some pressure,
Kate: existential pressure, [00:45:00] not necessarily the pressure of like, oh, now I can slack off and picking the preschool she should go to. But more like existentially, you know, I’m not like the person who is responsible for every single thing in her existence, et cetera, you know, that kind of existential
Jeanette: Yeah. And I think that that is just a big part of parenting. When you have a kid, especially as they get older, you just realize, oh my goodness, you can’t control everything that happens in their life. . And you just need to accept that.
Jeanette: And just to throw in a cliche here?
Jeanette: Somebody told me , oh, when you have a kid, it’s like, your heart is walking outside of your body. And it’s like walking around in the world and it is, I mean, it’s a cliche, but it really it’s true. You just worry, you know, the other day, my husband and I we were watching something on TV and for some reason there was a second grader who Was having trouble making friends at school.
Jeanette: And then he finally made a good friend and then my husband [00:46:00] and I both teared up because we’re like, oh, when Isaiah goes to school, we hope that he finds a really good friend because he really wants, he just really loves people. And he really is really important for him to have good friends and feel like he has good friends.
Jeanette: And this little boy had experienced several rejections by his classmates. He had asked them if they want to be as friends.
Susan: Oh God.
Jeanette: And so, you know, we just both kind of teared up I mean, it seems so trivial, like second grade friends, but , you know, you just really do feel everything, every hurt that they’re gonna feel.
Jeanette: And he just can’t, that’s not a situation where, you know, I can go out and get friends for him.
Jeanette: We’re kind of drifting off a little bit now, but you know, that, that is just a part of being a kid.
Susan: I mean, have we even sold it yet? Like, I feel [00:47:00] like intense, personal growth, you know, like takes up all your energy, go take, you know, all these things.
Susan: And I’m like,
Kate: my God, are we depressing. Are we going to turn people off to becoming parents?
Susan: That’d be one of my childless friends was like, I’m so relieved. I don’t have kids. And I was like, after she listened to our podcast and I was like, oh,
Kate: but maybe that’s good. Right? Like maybe, maybe this will change.
Kate: People’s thoughts about, oh, actually it’s not what I thought it would be. So I’m actually more likely. And maybe the ones who really don’t want to have kids, they’ll just feel more convicted. Maybe.
Kate: I don’t know how people
Kate: better decisions. Yes. It’s helping people make better decisions.
Susan: You just feel less crazy because you’re just kind of like, oh my God, there’s, it’s just like so many hormones are involved.
Susan: Expectations, disappointment, judgment for family. Just, just even before you get pregnant, then you get pregnant. Then you have the kid, no sleep, you know, and it’s just like, whoa, but. Let’s go back to cliches. It’s a love, you’ve never [00:48:00] felt before
Kate: now. Susan I’m vomiting in my mind.
Susan: Like I it’s like I it’s, I, I love him.
Susan: So I had a weird, a very weird attitude going into pregnancy, which was a girlfriend of mine had lost her child as a stillbirth when she gave birth. And it happened to two girlfriends, actually one knew in advanced one didn’t and I was so freaked out that I did not want to become attached to this child until I saw grieve in front of me.
Susan: And so I would, we would just, I would just be like, ah, I’m 30 weeks pregnant is the size of a cantaloupe. Cool. You know, or whatever the app would tell me, but I didn’t want to get too invested. And then when the baby came out, art came out. I was like, this is great, but I, I have all these fears. Like, are they awake?
Susan: Are they breathing? You know, like sometimes they’ll check the [00:49:00] door and then I, and, and so I think for a long time, I actually delayed love feelings towards my child. Like I felt like I was so afraid of losing him that I did it. I just, I wanted, if I did lose him that lost to be less. Maybe that’s some abandonment stuff around the fact that, you know, I had lost my mom when I was 11, so I’m curbing pain.
Susan: And then, but now, you know, he’s 15 months old, he’s healthy, he’s having a great time. And I feel like my love is starting to bubble up in a bigger way. And I’m starting to really feel deeper forms of love than when he was like a little potato sack and not really smiling or laughing. And he was just like a lot of work.
Susan: And I was like, why did. Like, is this why you do it? You know? But like now I’m starting to reap the rewards of like, just feeling so much pure love from him. And I feel like he’s actually healing a lot of wounds in me, like very deep wounds just by like hanging out and not [00:50:00] feeling judged by him. Like, I don’t know if you’re having this experience with your kid where you’re like, wow, this just like, it just feels, you know, they’re not being manipulative or there’s no baggage.
Susan: I mean, well, not yet, but they’re not being manipulative. I mean, my kids not two or three yet, but like I just there’s something there that that I haven’t felt in a long time, you know, when we walk around as adults, we’re just we’re adulting and not always in a great way.
Jeanette: Yeah. Sometimes I realize , you know, your kids, maybe it is just all about you, right.
Jeanette: But like you have kids and. In almost all circumstances, they will just love you so much. Right. And all the ways that I judge myself and kind of find myself coming up short in my own eyes or what I feel like are the eyes of others. Like, you know, your kid doesn’t see any of that.
Jeanette: To them, like, you’re their mom. They’re like, [00:51:00] awesome. And so, yeah, I think that there is something really
Jeanette: powerful in that. And amazing. That doesn’t mean
Jeanette: like, they are always going to love you. Like he said, they’re also going to use you as a emotional dumpster, but like but there is something really special about that.
Susan: I would say art helps me turn up the fun in my life. You know, like this morning he really wanted to climb into the laundry basket and I had to go find the one that has like these little things that we put on the bottom. So it doesn’t scratch the floor. So we go find it. I put him in and I’m like, we’re going around the kitchen.
Susan: And we’re going around the living room and going over the toys and like, and he’s like, and I see a reflection of his face and like one of the glass things or something. And I see he’s having so much fun, you know, he’s [00:52:00] having the time of his life. And then I realized I am too. No,
Kate: Susan look like she’s about to cry. Just percutaneous crying. They can’t oh, she is crying. She crying. Yeah.
Susan: It’s so beautiful. You know, it’s like, I think as adults, we forget to play. And we’re always like, oh, worrying about, am I investing in the right way? Like when are we going to retire? Or like how am I doing compared to my peers?
Susan: Or should I apply to this thing? Or like, what should be my short term goal? How I’m going to plan out my day, how do I reduce decision fatigue? Like, have you read this article? Or should I be watching this thing? Like, there’s just like so much to do to feel like I’m on par or like I’m living a highly productive, optimized life, you know?
Susan: And it’s just like, then I hang out with him and I’m like, why am I making life so hard? Yeah.
Jeanette: Yeah, one thing that I also just [00:53:00] feel inspired by from my kids is you know what? My son calls, games really are not really games that I feel most adults play and that they have no they have no points.
Jeanette: They have no winners. It’s like literally , you know, putting a little toy, train down a ramp. And he’s just doing that over and over again, or or he likes to make jokes that are just basically rhyming made up words. And you know, just things like that. Yeah. I just realized like, oh, my kids just have , this love for fun.
Jeanette: Yeah. Like at this stage they don’t, it doesn’t really matter to them like who wins or whatnot. If I actually tell him like, oh, if we’re doing like a train race and this train won he’ll be like, no, they both won. They’re both winners.
Jeanette: And I’m like, okay,
Jeanette: I’m not gonna, I’m not enforcing like, well, you know, there might actually just be one winner.
Jeanette: I’m not doing that right now. But yeah. it’s really [00:54:00] interesting and very refreshing. Right. They just have an, I think they, and all of us, , we have just have an innate ability to have fun . We have an innate curiosity that we want to follow. And it’s like you said, Susan, right?
Jeanette: It’s not like there’s not all this other baggage around like, Hey, , how am I doing against the next person? And , you know, how am I gonna present myself so that it’s in the best possible light and it can open up this next thing. Right?
Jeanette: It’s just, oh, like I’m interested in this right now. Like I just want to do this right now and see what happens if I do it this way or that way, you know? And then if I get bored, I’ll just move onto the next thing. It’s like, it’s so
Jeanette: No life is complicated, but I think that part of you, that, that part
Susan: you were supposed to say yes, talking to
Jeanette: I’m never going to say that it’s that simple. I’m going to let my kids think that it’s simple. So they’re older, but you know,
Susan: no, keep going. Yeah.[00:55:00]
Jeanette: I think it’s important to keep that side of you alive though. Right. And make space for it and kind of hold, be able to hold that with the more complicated parts of life.
Susan: Okay. Here’s the next question? Why more than one, like you’re juiced up on this unconditional love. Why have another kid, like, then you could adopt or like, okay. And I’m only asking this because I, I have gone back and forth on kid number two, like so many times, like I feel almost insane about it and it’s kind of like, I’m like.
Susan: Well, I have another second kid environmental issues here, climate change. Hello consumption. If I want to help the world make it a better place. Why don’t I just like donate to nonprofits or serve time there? Adopt foster is, is two so conventional that I like, even if I’m very [00:56:00] happy with one, am I feeling not enough because two’s such a convention, are they really going to be lonely and not know how to share?
Susan: You know, are they going to be weirdos all,
Susan: but all the only kids, I do know who our parents are like really firm about having more than one. They’re like, I really wanted the sibling experience and I that’s what we want, you know? And, and I’ve heard that many times. And so I’m kind of sitting here and going like, oh my God, what if I produce an only child?
Susan: Maybe he’s gonna want to write, when did he ever choose to have kids or not? Right. But I just, anyways, I’m going back and forth and I want to know what you thought, because I know Jeannette, you have two Kate, you’re intending to have to like, Y help me here.
Susan: You want me to go first? I was like, did you not think about it? No. I mean,
Jeanette: I think I always thought I wanted two. Some days I’m [00:57:00] like, oh, maybe I want a third, but , I’m like, no, I can’t, I can’t have three because I want to have time to do other things. Right. So it’s going to be two unless we have something unexpected happen.
Jeanette: But. I don’t know. It’s it’s like the question of having any kids at all. Right. Having multiple is also a complicated question. I mean, I do think it’s kind of a built-in relationship
Jeanette: yeah. And I think there is like a part of me that feels okay. When my husband and I pass , I want there to be somebody else that they can turn to.
Jeanette: Right. Who understood what it was like to grow up with the parents that they, that you did, because your parents are such a formative experience in your life. . And , nobody else is gonna understand it as much as your sibling. Then there’s another part of me that feels okay, you know, just because your brothers or sisters, it doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to be good friends for [00:58:00] life.
Jeanette: I’ve gone through ups and downs in my relationship with my brother. And just like any other relationship you need to cultivate it. And sometimes stuff happens and you just are not in a good place with that person. And so, yeah, I think that’s kind of how I think about kid number three is , okay.
Jeanette: Instead of having kid number three, I’m just going to try to cultivate good friendships from my kids that are almost like siblings. Right. They can have each other for what it was like to grow up with us. But then in terms of a broader support network and community, like Susan, you have three brothers and sisters, I feel it’s kind of fun, right?
Jeanette: I mean, I’m not that extroverted, but , my husband’s very extroverted. And I think just, he likes when his whole extended family gets together and there’s 25 people there. And like a lot of things are happening. He finds that fun and I kind of find it fun every once in a while. And maybe even if I can’t have four kids, like I could create that kind of community through friends.
Jeanette: Or through like an extended family, their cousins and stuff.
Kate: Yeah. Yeah. I [00:59:00] never unliked. I never really thought about having any number of kids. As you know, I have like more of a time bomb sitting on me. And so but actually I would say, you know, it wasn’t too much of a question whether we wanted to have a second because we just really have so much fun with our daughter RIAA and we just can’t imagine her not having a sibling to have even more fun with basically like and both my husband and our only children and it’s the only life, you know, right.
Kate: It’s going to be like, oh, is it better to be an only child? I’m like, I don’t know. I don’t know
Kate: what it’s like to have siblings. So I
Kate: can’t tell you. So I feel like that kind of comparison is not a really good one, but.
Kate: Say that I think it would be really, really fun for her and for us. And then, you know, the wider consideration is that I don’t really have much family in the U S I have a couple of cousins and that’s it.
Kate: My rest of my family’s in China, I love them. And I, I mean, I can’t see them for a while, unfortunately, because it’s [01:00:00] COVID, but I don’t know if my daughter or my children would make that effort. Right. And so I want her to be able to have something more of a family, a community here in the U S and then of course, you know, we gotta hurry it up because my kidneys in my cervix are waiting for me to like, fix them when we’re done having kids.
Kate: And if it weren’t for that time, for sure. Honestly, I feel like I would’ve never thought I would have three kids. I would
Kate: just would have thought that was
Kate: same, but maybe you know, actually I would definitely consider that for all the above
Kate: reasons why I would have a second.
Susan: You guys all sound like angels.
Susan: I feel like me and Marvin are like selfish because we’re kind of like, we love our independence. Marvin loves going out with the outdoors for a few days. I, I do a lot of stuff with my arts career and I’m traveling and I, we have certain passions that we really want to create space for. [01:01:00] And then we read these longterm studies about couples when they’re most unhappy in their lives.
Susan: And it’s when they have children. And it’s like, they’re most happy, right. When they get married. And then they’re most happy actually with their happiness starts to move up once they have an empty nest again. And so we read the studies and we were sitting there going like, Hm, Hm.
Susan: And so right now with having just one kiddo, Maybe it’s easier just to transfer the kid off for the weekend to one parent. Yes. It’s a lot more work, but it’s, it’s working. And then when we talk to parents that have two kids, they’re like, it’s not twice as much work. It’s three times as much work. And I’m sitting there going like, oh my God, like my, my ego is saying like, no, we don’t want to fully die yet.
Susan: And so I feel nervous about it. And then I go, oh my God, Susan, you, you and your foolish dreams, like when you’re in your 50 67, if you make it to 70, you know, we, we think we’re going to we’re [01:02:00] immortal or not. But if you make it to your old age, maybe you won’t really care about your career. Maybe you won’t really have cared so much about your achievements.
Susan: Like maybe you don’t put it on your tombstone. Like. And then I’m scared. I’m going to have this regret of like, you should have more than one kid. Like kids are so great. Like I always have this fantasy that I’m going to be a grandma. And I have like a spice dub of kids that are our family reunion with our like Sue Mart, family clan booty shorts, and like, and it’s so fun.
Susan: And we have competitions. Like, I, I, I want that family village vibe. I just don’t want to have them all come out of my body, you know? And I also don’t want them to take up all of my time, which I’m like, I’m not sure if I can have both, you know, like so right now I’m just thinking we’re still very much on the fence, more on the no side, but then I go, like you said, Jeanette, okay.
Susan: Let’s foster great relationships. I have three [01:03:00] siblings. They all have kids go to California more often have this like cousins. This is like cousin cohorts and also cultivate relationships and their friendships, and really honor them. That’s what my postpartum therapist said. Cause I’ve been analyzing if I really want to do this or not.
Susan: I’m still not sure because I just went to a funeral. And then when you go to funerals, you really think about your life and you really think about what do you leave behind? And so I’m just, I’m kind of confused, but my ego still wants my free time.
Jeanette: Yeah. And I think that that’s totally valid, right?
Jeanette: That’s a totally valid want and I don’t think, right. What’s like to say, okay, , you know, between one kid and two, it was like zero kid, one kid, one kid, two kids, two kids to three kids. Right. It’s like, you’d have to draw the line somewhere. And I think for me, yeah, sometimes I’m like, it would be fun to have three.
Jeanette: My husband comes from a family of three kids. Everyone in his family has three. [01:04:00] But I don’t think I can do three kids because my kids are finally kind of getting to an age where they don’t need so much 24 hour care. Right. And , I can have time to do other things like this podcast.
Jeanette: And I want that. And I think that that’s , totally, that’s valid. Right. That’s valid for me. That’s valid for you. And I don’t think you need to have guilt around that.
Kate: I think also, you know, the decision is tough in the U S and also actually in China, which about it’s something we haven’t talked about on this episode.
Kate: It’s just cost, you know, the reason, like I’ll just put it out there. If we couldn’t afford to have childcare for two kids or three kids. I wouldn’t, I don’t know that I would. Consider it and I have to put that out there because I think we’re very like, you know, we’re very privileged to be able to say that, but a lot of people can’t, and it actually, a lot of people in, you know, who are solidly, solidly middle class, who actually have decent incomes to household incomes, the cost of childcare is just prohibitively high.
Kate: And we have really shitty ass. I’m going to [01:05:00] say it shitty ass, maternity leave or lack thereof policies. Still, you know, widely. And this just society just does not support. It does not make it easy for working families to have more kids because of the whole childcare cost. And then, you know, a lack of social support situation.
Kate: So I just had to put that out there because I feel like it’s a luxury to be able to say, I want to have two kids and maybe more, you know, to me at least.
Susan: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. Yeah,
Jeanette: because what I mean, let’s just talk specific numbers, right? Like here in . Right. Full-time childcare to allow a mom to work. It’s like between, it’s like at least $2,200.
Jeanette: Right. And going up to like $2,600, you have two kids, that’s like five that’s, five grand a month.
Susan: Right. And that’s to get to kindergarten
Jeanette: until they get to kindergarten. . But public school also ends at two 30. Right. So you still are going to need care even after they start going to school, because you’re going to need probably care for like, at [01:06:00] least two to three hours after they get out.
Jeanette: That’s not including babysitters or date night, like and anything like that. So it is a lot $5,000. A post tax income is a lot, you can’t support that on a minimum wage or even a $15 wage, $15 per hour wage. Like that’s just not possible. Right.
Susan: Not possible. Yeah. And then you lean on your family public programs.
Susan: I mean, I feel like as a mother to drop out of the workforce. Yeah. Right. And it’s just like, there’s so many decisions we have to make outside of. Can we afford daycare? Right. It’s just like which products, you know, like where are they in their leap development and are we doing the right things? You know, okay.
Susan: Let me get some tips from my girlfriends. Like we’re always doing labor to improve this situation, even if it’s not like directly holding it.
Jeanette: Yeah, right. That’s what I, yeah, that’s what I mean. Right. It’s like, okay. They may [01:07:00] be in care for eight and a half hours, but half an hour of that is spent driving them back and forth.
Jeanette: And then , you know, you’re going to spend some time, some amount of time that you just need to do these logistical things. That’s very hard to do when there physically like with you. So I think that’s just the reality of it, right? I mean, maybe we’ll have an episode on just the reality of childcare, but I mean, I think Kate, you bring up a , great point, which is forget college, right?
Jeanette: It’s like, we’re not even talking about college, really Tufts talking about when they’re born to like, when they start going to school, how do you afford care for them?
Kate: Is this a deterrent for any of our listeners? I mean, just being realistic, you know, it is, it is. And probably a lot of our listeners are going to be in a position to, to be able to afford that maybe, but maybe some won’t.
Kate: You know, it is a consideration you just have to be realistic about, and it’s not even, we’re not talking about like, oh, we’re going to be best private data. It’s just average [01:08:00] costs in a metropolitan area. Right. Like we’re not even talking about like super fancy.
Susan: Yeah. Right. Yeah. But yeah, but then this is where you get creative and you’re like, Hey, do we want our mother-in-law or mother to live with us?
Susan: Or is there a mother-in-law unit? Or like, do we, you know, Hey, on, you know, again, they, you start to start email, like can live with the us, or how are you looking at au pairs from Europe, you know? And I’m like, oh, I just hope they’re not hot. You know, like you start going down this rabbit hole of how do I actually make this work and then when you’re at work perform.
Susan: And people not doubt you. Not fully available, you know, and it’s true still. Like we’re, we’re always having to fire on all our cylinders, like all the time. And then when you go to sleep, this is so not why have kids know when you go to sleep? Sometimes you think you hear your baby crying and they’re [01:09:00] not crying, but you think you hear it and you’d be like, should I go, should I not?
Susan: You know? And it’s just like, it’s eerie because it’s like, your mom NIS is always like on
Jeanette: yeah. So why should we have kids again?
Susan: Votes voting for policies, you one.
Kate: Well, I mean, it could be just mundane reasons. A friend of mine recently said she really loves board games, but her husband doesn’t play with her.
Kate: And so she wants her three kids so that she can have him play board games with them. I mean, obviously the most
Jeanette: costly is yeah. That’s like maybe she could find some people on Craigslist who will play
Jeanette: board games with her.
Kate: Everybody has different reasons. I think it’s just sort of be realistic thing clear about, you know, I guess why you want to have kids it’s there’s no, like, I mean, there are some probably less than kosher reasons
Kate: For having them, but
Jeanette: I also mentioned this in the, in our last episode with Sarah, right.
Jeanette: There’s your lizard brain, and [01:10:00] then there’s your limbic brain and then there’s your rational brain, ? Like we’re trying to come up with , rational reasons why we want to have kids. I mean, like, I think a part of it is we’re just animals. Right. And like animals, like the reason we’re here is because our ancestors had kids.
Jeanette: Right. So it’s like the evolutionary pressure is for us to want to have children. Right. And so I think that, yeah, so there’s just an aspect of it.
Jeanette: It’s like, even if we don’t have a rational reason for it, we have an intuitive desire to reproduce. And I think that it’s a valid consideration.
Jeanette: And then I think the other part of it is kind of like marriage, right? Like marriage. Pretty challenging. I think for most people I know.
Jeanette: And we didn’t really talk about marriage in this episode. But maybe we can in another episode, you enter into it and it’s an opportunity for a lot of personal growth and deep relationship. And I think having children, there are a lot of similarities to that, right.
Jeanette: I mean, it’s incredibly difficult, [01:11:00] but then there’s a lot of things that are really rewarding about it.
Susan: Yeah. But it’s okay. But at the same time with marriage, you can separate from your spouse, like there’s a 45% divorce rate. And if you’re upper middle income, it’s a 35% divorce rate.
Susan: You know, you, if things weren’t going as well as you wanted to, you can make a separation, but with your kids, your kids, you can never separate from them. And so I think it adds like a different level of commitment to trying to like really figure things out. Be really mindful, like, okay, we’re the adults.
Susan: So like, how do we think about this? Like, you’re really, this is the most unique relationship ever that you actually wouldn’t, you don’t sever you know, like it’s such a profound relationship. It’s very special,
Jeanette: but don’t you think like, in some ways, like we need that commitment device.
Jeanette: No, no, no.
Jeanette: The child-parent relationship that you can never sever or if you [01:12:00] do. I mean, I think for most people it’s like, kind of, it’s one of the last, really sacred, like things right. In our society, a parent, abandoning their child is still considered really bad.
Susan: Yeah. I mean, it’s, it’s, I mean, I’m an artist around these very topics of the parent child relationship.
Susan: Right. I’m obsessed with it because it’s, it’s the core. It’s your first relationship ever. Yeah. Okay. I know this all sounded really somber, but I want to close with one cool moment that I had with art. This cool moment is this thing that we do every other day. It’s called. I think I’ve talked about it before the dad bod challenge.
Jeanette: No, I don’t think it talked about it.
Susan: Well, now I do it as a mama, but I, we take a banana, like a, a not super ripe banana. So I’m not talking like spots. The banana cannot have spots. It’s got maybe two little green or it’s just fully yellow. I take the banana, I hold it up in front of art. [01:13:00] It’s art like gets ready and he puts his fist by his ears and he’s like locking his, his elbows.
Susan: And then I go 1, 2, 3, and I try to break the banana in half with the peel also broken in two and I, usually I fail and the peel is still stuck, but whenever Marvin does, he, he like fully commits and it breaks and then art, he, after I do it, he goes, yes. And like, he, like, he doesn’t say yes, but he, like, he looks like he’s doing the motion of yes.
Susan: To himself. And then ever since we did the dad bod challenge, you know, whenever we eat bananas throughout the day, he’s just always doing like the victory thing of the dad bod challenge.
Jeanette: You have to describe it in words, because like our viewers are not going to be able to see it’s like that kind of fist pump thing, like with the elbow down, it’s like, yeah, yeah,
Susan: yeah, yeah.
Susan: Like that GIF with that little kid when he’s like awesome. You know, and I just see art, like when we’re getting about to eat raspberries, you go, yes. You know what? We’re going to [01:14:00] do some more. It’s exciting. He just does it all day long. And I think it’s hilarious. I think it’s cute that we had this one moment and he like relives it and maybe he thinks it’s a symbol for something else.
Susan: I don’t know. But that’s the fascinating thing about kids is you get to see development and learning and it’s so small, but I feel so proud of him. Cause he did not know that yesterday, you know, full circle is today. Tomorrow is today. The future is, you know what, everything Isaiah said. It’s like time and children is so fascinating and, and I would never want to give that up, you know, like I, I enjoy that and it’s beautiful.
Susan: Yes, parenting is very hard, but there are so many beautiful moments and you can try the dads bod challenge.
Jeanette: There’s an aspect of it where, it’s like having a guest from out of town and showing them all the sights. Like, you’ve seen them before, but it’s pleasurable to [01:15:00] go again with somebody who’s never seen it before.
Jeanette: And kind of see through them, like the way that they’re enjoying it for the first time. I feel like there’s an element of that with my kids too. Things that I enjoy, books that I enjoy, that I haven’t read for a long time. I do that with them and then they love it. And then like, I love it again.
Kate: you’ve just listened to a confessional of model minority moms. If you loved this episode, please give us a rating. Follow us on Instagram at model minority moms and tell a friend about us. If you have a suggestion for a future episode or questions, send us an firstname.lastname@example.org