New & Expecting Parents, Here's My Question to You for 2019!

Ah, there’s something about a new year that always feels like a clean slate.  Even if you’re not a resolution-setter.

But, if you think about it, each new day is also a clean slate.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple.  

So, even though today I have a really big question to ask you, when you actually put the question to practice in your day-to-day, the answer is really in the small, simple things you do each day.

When the Holidays are Hard: How to Create Meaningful Moments When Things Aren't How They're "Supposed to Be"

As if waiting on your baby’s debut (early, late or right on time?) or bringing baby home (Congratulations, here’s your baby.  Now go home and figure out how to be parents!) wasn’t stressful enough, bringing home a winter baby means you’re dealing with all of this in the context of the holiday hustle.  

It’s like a beautiful, fragile snow globe of wants, needs, and expectations swirling around you, with you, your partner and baby at the center.

The good news is, you can get through it. I’ve got some tips to help.

Bringing Baby Home... During the Holidays

As if waiting on your baby’s debut (early, late or right on time?) or bringing baby home (Congratulations, here’s your baby.  Now go home and figure out how to be parents!) wasn’t stressful enough, bringing home a winter baby means you’re dealing with all of this in the context of the holiday hustle.  

It’s like a beautiful, fragile snow globe of wants, needs, and expectations swirling around you, with you, your partner and baby at the center.

The good news is, you can get through it. I’ve got some tips to help.

How to Create the Holidays You Want For Your Family

The holiday season can cause some conflict in our relationships. So, today, I want to talk to you about how to create the holiday traditions you REALLY want.  

That includes compromises that feel good to both you and your partner and clear boundary-setting that communicate what you won’t do, but also what you can do.

It all starts with a heart-to-heart with your partner, where you ask each other some key questions.

Slowing Down to Make Space for Gratitude

And seriously, if we are already busy multitaskers, how in the world are we going to fit in one more task like journaling into our already overflowing days?  

There’s really only one way.  You guessed it: SLOW DOWN.

So, in this week’s video, I’m talking about literally HOW we can slow down. And, for once, I’m not going to tell you to delegate tasks or scratch to-do’s off your list so you can do less.  Because who are we kidding? The holidays are upon us.

How to Make Gratitude a Daily Practice to Feel Happier, Healthier & More Connected

If you’ve been on social media lately, I’m guessing your feed has been inundated with three things in the last week:  Halloween photos, midterm election posts, and 30-day gratitude challenge posts.

By now, the Halloween posts are probably waning.  The election posts--or political posts in general--don’t show any signs of stopping though.  But, at least right now, there are more celebratory posts than angry rants, right?

And if you haven’t seen any gratitude posts on your feed, then you’re clearly not following me on Instagram or Facebook, because I’ve been posting a video each day sharing one thing I’m grateful for.  So far, I’m really loving this challenge. And I’m seeing others post things they’re grateful for too, which is a lot of fun.

And actually, that’s right in line with what I want to talk to you about today:  How and why you should start a gratitude practice.

Honoring the Baby You Lost

Maybe you need catharsis or maybe you just need a way to connect with joy rather than sadness when you think of them.  It might be something you do once and never again or it might become an annual tradition. Maybe it’s a very private, intimate thing or maybe it’s surrounded by your most important support people.  Maybe it’s something you even do publicly with the intent of connecting with others to heal together.

The point is, there are so many ways to do it and there’s no timeline for this.  When you’re ready, I want to encourage you to find a way that feels good to you.

4 Things to Know About Grief

Grief affects every one of us sooner or later.

I’ve been talking all month about the specific grief that comes from losing a pregnancy or losing your baby.  There’s no other kind of grief that is quite like it.

And, unfortunately, it’s a quiet grief.  It’s not one we talk about much. There are so many reasons why.

But I also want to acknowledge that grief is something we all come to understand.  Like it or not, it is a part of life. In a way, that creates room for empathy in every one of us, even if our grief is different from someone else’s.

Resources for Parents Grieving a Miscarriage or Baby Loss

Last week, I talked to you briefly about how October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage or lose their baby. This means that you definitely know someone in your family or social circle who has experienced this.  

So, today, I want to share some resources I rely on with you that might help you if you’re struggling with this or know someone who is.

Dealing With the Grief of Miscarriage & Baby Loss

October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month.  This is so important for every one of us to be aware of--because even if you’ve never experienced this yourself, I can almost guarantee someone close to you has.

Of course, my hope is that this kind of tragedy hasn’t happened to you. But whether it has or hasn’t, this impacts you.  And because of that, I wanted to share some thoughts for both the parents who have lost their baby as well as to the loved ones who want to be a support.  Because we don’t talk about these things enough--in fact, it’s hard to know what to say. No one wants to say the wrong thing.

Are You Spending Enough Time with Your Kids?

More and more, I hear from moms that they worry they aren’t spending enough time with their kids.  

And, I mean, it makes sense.  Many of us moms work, which means someone else is doing the caregiving for a significant portion of the day.  And then, we come home and it’s boom-boom-boom. We have to do the whole dinner, bathtime, bedtime routine, with the rush hour commute in between.  It often feels like there isn’t much time to “just be” with our kids.

But, it’s not just working mothers.  Stay-at-home moms feel it too.

Life Hacks for Parents: Solving the "What's for dinner?" Dilemma

For years, I'd say the worst question anyone could ask me is "What's for dinner?" 

I know I'm not alone in this.  Whether you love to cook or not, it's the deciding what to make that is the most exhausting.  And it's only made worse when it's followed by groans of "Ew, not that again...." 

Now, there are a variety of ways to solve this problem in our modern world.

Surviving Road Trips with Kids

Today is the 4th of July, a day for celebrating freedom and independence.  But when you’re a parent, our experience of freedom changes a little bit, doesn’t it?  It’s suddenly not quite so easy as hopping in the car spontaneously and driving for hours and hours.

But, still, road tripping with kids can be done.  It just requires a little more planning and different expectations.  In fact, our family takes a road trip this time of year every year.

Trouble Sleeping? This might work for you!

We all know the magical powers of sleep.  And we all know that most of us--no matter who we are or what we do--aren't getting nearly enough. 

We're all just so busy.  We're overbooked and overstretched.  We give too much.  We spend too much time staring at screens, taking in a constant flood of new information. Our nervous systems are constantly bombarded with things to process and not enough downtime to actually process all the things.  This causes wear and tear on our brains and hormones, among other things. 

Dads Interview with Quentin Hafner

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re probably familiar with my Momma Interviews series.  I’ve loved doing them and I frequently get positive feedback from readers saying how much they look forward to them.

But I feel like we’re only getting half of the story.  

I’ve been wanting to do a series of Dads Interviews for such a long time.  And today--just in time for Fathers Day this weekend--I’m so excited to kick off the Dads Interviews series with Quentin Hafner!


Catherine O'Brien Featured on PsychCentral Offering Top Tips on Toddler Discipline

When our babies are small, it can often feel like we’re trying to crack some mysterious code.  “Why are you crying? What do you need? What are you trying to tell me?”

Often times, we find ourselves thinking (even if only for a flicker of a moment), “Life will be so much easier when they can get around on their own or tell me what they need!”

….And then, toddlerhood happens and we’re completely eating our words.  Toddlers have BIG emotions, don’t they! And very strong opinions! That brings a whole new set of challenges.  


How to Use Google Calendars to Connect with Your Partner

In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of scheduling time to connect with your partner.  I talked about how couples need time for both check-ins (the daily and weekly logistical and schedule-based stuff that keep your household running) and connection time (date nights and hangout time to reconnect and forget about the logistical stuff).  And I also talked about the importance of self-care.  All of these things need to be scheduled. 

As the saying goes, "What gets scheduled is what gets done."

Making Time for Connecting with Your Partner

One of the biggest concerns I hear from couples that call my office is: How do they find time to spend together as a couple with everything else they have to do in a day?

As a parent and partner to my amazing husband, I have to say I know this concern all too well.  I feel like there are a lot of different things we need to contend with.  We have to take care of our child or children.  We have jobs.  We have to grocery shop, clean the house, take care of our own needs…  The list, quite frankly, is never ending.  So, usually spending time together comes last. It’s right down there with taking care of ourselves.  Both should really be much higher on the list of priorities.