May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, so I've relaunched my "Momma Interviews" series--This time with an extra special set of moms. These mommas also work to support other moms and their families during the transition into new parenthood and beyond. I'm calling it the "Expert Edition", but I think you'll find that while these women definitely are experts in their work, parenthood has a way of making a beginner out of everybody. Even experts get surprised by the unexpected and learn new bits of wisdom while in the trenches!
This series is all about their experiences with motherhood, in the hopes that it provides you with some validation and new tips to try. Because for all the many different ways there are to be a mom (and there are definitely MANY ways to do it right), it's so amazing how much we moms all really have in common.
Today's conversation is with Rebekah Fedrowitz, mom to a busy toddler and holistic nutritionist whose aim is to support busy moms on their own path to wellness. She's got a lot to say about balance and perfection (her perspective on how quitting one area of her life would change everything is so poignant), and RuMe tote bags and Daniel Tiger. Oh, and her fave motherhood quote is, well, perfection....
Scroll down to watch the video, read the transcript, or learn more about Rebekah.
Watch the Video:
Catherine: Hi. I'm Catherine O'Brien at happy with baby dot com. We're doing another interview, a momma interview, with another expert for this month. We're with Rebekah Fedrowitz today and she's a holistic nutritionist who helps moms realize their dreams for their health and their families.
Thank you so much, Rebekah, for being with us today. I'm so glad to have you!
Rebekah: Thank you. Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here!
Catherine: Cool! So the first question is just a basic one. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what you do and then about your family dynamics? What makes you a mom?
Rebekah: Yeah, okay! So, let's see, what I do. As you said, I'm a board certified holistic nutritionist. I'm really passionate about helping moms really redefine what has become the norm of mom life and this kind of [inaudible 00:00:52] and helping them discover vibrant health that they dream about. Truly they feel like maybe it's impossible to ever have again and helping them and their families find that in a very practical way that fits in with their life. I have that practical experience-
Rebekah: Because I am a mom-
Rebekah: And I have a crazy life and dynamic.
Rebekah: I have one son. He is two and a half. I work from home and so it's that constant crazy. My husband and myself and my son are hopping and busy around here.
Catherine: Yeah. Just an FYI for anyone viewing this, it's crazy today because I don't have anyone watching my daughter so you might hear her in the background. I apologize ahead of time.
Yeah, the being a working mom, from home, can be challenging-
Rebekah: Yes! Fun but challenging!
Catherine: Fun but challenging! Two and a half is such a fun age 'cause they're just really starting to able to communicate about how they are viewing the world and it's just so fun and interesting.
Rebekah: It's been a blast! I love watching his personality develop and he is quite opinionated about how he views the world actually!
Catherine: Oh! That's like a good thing but it can be super challenging at times, too!
Rebekah: Yeah! For sure!
Catherine: I always think like, "Okay, I know this will serve them well in the future but man, it makes being a mom hard sometimes!"
Rebekah: Yes, it definitely does.
Catherine: Okay. So what, how do you balance being a mom, and being a working from home mom, and just your relationship with your husband?
Rebekah: Such a good question! It's an ever-changing ... I think how I do it is just being super flexible which is not my nature. But I need to embrace that and just kind of going with the ebbs and the flows of life. Setting less priorities than I did before I was a mom. Before, my list might have been a hundred, now I'm like, "Let's aim for two today."
Rebekah: Just knowing that, you know what, some days my son is gonna need me more than my work. Some days my work might need me a little more than my son. Not feeling guilty or bad about that.
My husband and I both have been working crazy the last couple of months and we were just saying "[inaudible 00:03:13] we should adjust, we need to think back through this and make sure we're checking in with each other, too." 'Cause it's really easy for that to quickly go to the back burner.
It's awareness and flexibility and just taking what comes at you more than anything else.
Catherine: Right. Right. No, exactly. It's that flexibility, I think. Becoming a mom made me, either I have to learn to be flexible or I'm going-
Catherine: To break, right?
Rebekah: Yeah. You do!
Catherine: Yeah. So what do you do when you feel ... Or I have a lot of moms tell me that there's times where they feel like they just want to throw in the towel. Have you ever experienced that and, if so, what got you through that moment or those moments?
Rebekah: Yeah. Well. Oh sure, I've definitely experienced them. I think, as a perfectionist, feeling this ever-present feeling of "Am I doing enough?" That pressure as a mom makes you sometimes be like, "I just, I can't do this. I quit!" Not just as a mom but like a working mom, and a stay at home mom at the same time.
Honestly, sometimes how I handle it is just taking what I need at that moment. Maybe it's a few minutes with my son, maybe it's locking myself in the bathroom for a second-
Rebekah: Just taking a breath, maybe it's reconnecting with the moms that I work with, my clients, my tribe, my community. Seeing that sometimes, well, it feels really hard to be doing everything, that it matters, and that I matter in all of these spaces. That, and these people matter to me, and kind of using that reminder that it's not ever isolating that one part of my life to make it perfect, but rather embracing everything and knowing that any one part of my life would be so different if I quit in the other areas.
Rebekah: Just finding that peace in that moment.
Rebekah: Not perfect but it's what it needs to be.
Catherine: Right. No, that's a good reminder. So you've kind of already said this but what else, is there anything else you do when you become overwhelmed or over-stretched or feeling less than?
Rebekah: I actually talk to my mom a lot-
Rebekah: We have similar personalities and she kind of centers me when I'm like, "I just feel like I'm a bad mom-
Rebekah: When I do this." Or I feel like I just can't do it all and there's so much, only so much of me. She kind of reminds me, especially with the toddler, this is a little bit of life and so part of it is just not feeling like you're failing. Be okay with the fact that you are actually doing well. Part of it has been learning that taking time for what I need, even if it's not like personal time, self care, in that get a massage way, it may just be, you know what, I don't need to feel guilty about sitting down with my child and putting on Daniel Tiger for both of us.
Let's be honest, I need that 20 minutes as much as he does! So-
Rebekah: I wish I had like a, it's something I did all the time, sometimes with my decaf coffee in the afternoon, just that. When he goes down, it's my reward!
Catherine: Yeah. Yeah. No, that's nice. But yeah, Daniel Tiger, I mean that's good for everybody's soul.
Rebekah: [inaudible 00:06:30]
Catherine: It's so positive and so Mr. Rogers.
Rebekah: It is. It really is. I love it. We don't a whole lot of TV but-
Rebekah: You can feel good about turning that on.
Catherine: Right. So I've had parents also tell me that one of the hardest things about being a parent is the comparisons or judgements from other parents. Have you experienced this and-
Rebekah: Oh yes.
Catherine: If so, how do you cope with that?
Rebekah: That was maybe one of the two biggest challenges that I faced coming into mom life, was holy cow, nobody can really prepare you for the judgment-
Rebekah: Not just from others but like other parents. It's, I still think it's a daily decision I have to make that we're doing the best we can and it's not always about doing it a right or a wrong way, but rather about making a decision in between my husband and myself. Going with, reading my son's personality and seeing what would work for me, 'cause he, we have similar personalities.
Even praying about it. Sometimes feeling like I feel judged about this. Am I feeling that way because maybe I'm doing it in a way I'm not comfortable with and I should be changing it. Or because I'm just, don't like that people think I'm doing it wrong. Just kind of letting it go and being comfortable in my decisions which is never, honestly, it's not an easy thing, but each year that goes by, I think get better and better at just saying, "This is my family and this is the way that we've chosen to raise our child." I'm just praying, honestly, that he turns out okay!
Catherine: Right! I don't think there's one, I know there's not one right way to do things. It's finding what's right for you and your family. Now that I have two kids, I know there's definitely not ... They both have different needs and different personalities and stuff. So it's like how I did something with my son is totally different than how I do with my daughter. We've had to adjust from that and it's like ... I hope and pray that they turn out good adults.
But I think there isn't one right way-
Rebekah: Oh no.
Catherine: And it's okay. So it can definitely be challenging. So what about what do you feel's your greatest personal struggle with your experience of motherhood?
Rebekah: That's a great question. Personal struggle I think is how much I've changed. We were talking about that flexibility and being, fighting some change and being okay with others.[inaudible 00:09:03] things like always being really particular about certain things whereas now I'm like, "Okay, you know what, if the toys don't get cleaned up at nap time so that I can get some work in, that's okay." Actually, struggling internally, going, "This is so not you. This is so not you." But, I know that-
Rebekah: Sounds kind of weird but I think there's so much of you, that it's forever you and it's your personality. But you change a lot when you become a mom and finding yourself-
Rebekah: I don't know, I feel like people talk about that in your teens and college, and that was never a struggle for me. But as a mom, like re-finding myself, being really fully content with who I am in this ever-changing space-
Rebekah: Has been my biggest struggle.
Catherine: Yeah. No. I think that's a lot for a lot of different, a lot of moms. How about something that's surprised you about being a mom. Maybe something you didn't know about kids? Or something you didn't think that you would find enjoyable? Or just, yeah, what surprised you or brings you the most joy?
Rebekah: Oh gosh. I think the biggest thing has been ... Number one, as a mom to only one, at least right now, just the sheer amount of love. Love that is so deep it brings you the most intense joy and the most intense pain in that weird way-
Rebekah: You only understand as a mother. But I didn't know, I love my husband very dearly, we're very, very close, I grew up in a loving family, but the love between a mother and her child is undescribable. So that was certainly part of it.
I think, in general, just how much I love each stage, even the temper tantrum stages.
Rebekah: I was not looking forward to the first six months. I really, looking back, I'm like, "That wasn't very fun," but, in it, I loved it-
Rebekah: It's, I think what I'm finding and what's surprising me is that, in the moment, in it, you just, the love that you have makes you love everything, despite the fact that, logistically speaking, you wouldn't traditionally love it.
Catherine: Right. Right. Yeah. How has your relationship with your partner changed and or how has that stayed the same?
Rebekah: So it's changed. I think in some ways we're closer than ever because we have this human being that we've created. In a way-
Rebekah: Watching my husband be an amazing dad and the way he loves my, our son, I should say. It just makes me love him more.
Rebekah: Yet I feel like the romantic side of us, it's like it disappeared. It's not that we don't love each other or feel that, it's just like, it just so much goes on the back burner that it's a different level of work, if that makes sense?
Rebekah: It's embracing the fact that we still, we're so close and we're still best of friends, and I love him more than ever, and yet, still finding that space for courtship.
Rebekah: [inaudible 00:12:11] word. But not this, "Hi, you're home. Dinner's on the table. Hurry because then it's bath time and bedtime-
Rebekah: And then we'll hurry." It's finding that moment to say, I have to think about stopping and saying, "Hi, how was your day and I love you."
Rebekah: Things aren't as, different things aren't natural, and it's just that kind of change, I guess more than anything else.
Catherine: Yeah. Yeah. No, I think it is. It's true where sometimes, my husband gets home and then I realize we're spinning around and doing all these things and it's like, wait a second, "How was your day?" I see you, I notice you. Stop it-
Catherine: Give each other a hug or a kiss or both.
Catherine: "Oh, you're home! Thank goodness!
Rebekah: The kids become the center of your world-
Rebekah: Not wrongly and yet, at the same time, maybe too much. You realize that if we crumble, if we are not strong then we are not being the best we can be for him, for my child. So making sure to keep that a priority.
Catherine: Good. No, that's really, really important. So how about relationships with friends, family or support system? How has that changed or stayed the same? I know you mentioned you and your mom are very close and she's super supportive, so that's really awesome.
Rebekah: Yes. I have a maybe a little bit of a different experience than most people because we did move. My son was a year and a couple months when we moved. We moved dramatically. So that changed my friends, relationships. But I think, overall, as a mom, I've been more of an introverted person. I'm an outgoing introvert. So I'm the kind of person who can get into a crowd and talk and enjoy my time, but then I go home and I'm like, "Yep, I can stay here for the next five days and not see anyone."
Rebekah: As a mom, I suddenly really needed that support. It's still, even if it wasn't advice or anything more than just sitting there and going, "Oh, your kid does that too?"
Rebekah: "Awesome, I'm not crazy!"
Catherine: Yeah. Yeah. Like I'm not in this alone. Yeah.
Rebekah: Right. Exactly. I feel like I made more friends than ever when he was first born. Where we are now has been less than easy to do that, but even still, connecting with people, just on the premise of being a mom-
Rebekah: But I have, my relationship with my mom has just continued to grow and blossom, especially as I can now go to her and utilize her for this dynamic, for mom to mom, if you will-
Catherine: Yeah. Yeah.
Rebekah: Mother to daughter.
Catherine: Yeah. So what is your greatest lesson you've learned as a mom? Or one of 'em? I feel like there's always lessons but-
Rebekah: Right. Greatest lesson I've learned? I think love trumps all. I think being in a space where I realize I'm learning to be with my son and learning to, I guess, teach him through demonstration. It's not about being perfect but rather about being real and growing together. Knowing that, no matter whether or not we have a great day playing outside or a cranky day inside in the rain, and we're at each other's throats all day-
Rebekah: At the end of the day, just always saying "I love you" and "I'm here no matter what" and that, ultimately, is more important than you behaving and me not yelling at you-
Rebekah: Works just fine. Just always coming back to that, over this need to be perfect.
Catherine: Right. Good. That's so good. How about your favorite quote? Is there something that inspires you as a mom?
Rebekah: So I think this kind of goes along with everything I've been saying. There's so many good quotes.
Rebekah: It's kind of hard to choose. But one of them, by Jill Churchill, is "there's no way to be a perfect mother but a million ways to be a good one." Something that I just constantly remind myself when I feel like maybe I'm failing or questioning my abilities, is just to say, "You know what, I can't be perfect-
Rebekah: But I can be good."
Rebekah: There's a million ways I can do this well.
Rebekah: So I love that one. But, again, there's so many. But that's a good one.
Catherine: Yeah. No, that's a really good one. I think that's, yeah, that's perfect. How about a favorite song that inspires you as a mom?
Rebekah: So this is kind of a funny song.
Rebekah: Actually, on my son, we put together when he was younger, we did him a playlist, that did make me want to bang my head against a wall. 'Cause I was so like, "You're so young that you don't really get the nursery rhymes and yet-
Rebekah: [inaudible 00:16:55].
Catherine: Yeah. Yeah.
Rebekah: So it's a song by Owl City and I think it's actually in compilation with Hanson which makes me laugh 'cause I'm like, "Okay, childhood memories!"
Rebekah: It's called Unbelievable. It just talks about how this is as good as it gets. I feel like every time that song comes on, it just makes me stop in the moment and just be like, "This is as good as it gets." It's not that I don't always work for the greatest. We're constantly changing and striving for that-
Rebekah: But, you know what, no matter what's going on, this is amazing and I love it.
Catherine: Oh, that's awesome. I love that. I'll have to check that song out. How about a favorite-
Rebekah: It's totally a teenybopper song.
Catherine: Is it Mmmbop? That sounds fun though! Kids always seem to like that.
Catherine: The more upbeat the music, the more they love dancing around.
Catherine: Yeah. How about a can't live without gadget or a product or something you found like, "Oh, this totally makes life easier!" Or, "Everyone should have one of these," or something like that?
Rebekah: Okay. So I feel like it varies by the stage. I can't even remember and my son's only two and a half. But I'm like, "What did I love when he was two months old?" I think as a baby, it was the Boba Wrap. Now, as just a mom in general, those, I don't know it it's Rume or Rume, the R-U-M-E bags.
Rebekah: The little inserts that go in. You're like, "How can this hold that much?" And it does! It keeps your crazy ... Bags are not the same once you become a mom-
Rebekah: Because you have like Kleenex's, and this, that, and the other. It makes it manageable.
Rebekah: [inaudible 00:18:32]. As an organized person [inaudible 00:18:35] "How am I supposed to keep all of this-
Rebekah: In my bag?"
Rebekah: The RuMe organizers, those are my go-to. I love them.
Catherine: Oh, that's awesome. That's cool. Okay, so final question. What's one piece of advice you'd love to leave other moms with today?
Rebekah: Such a good one. I think that I would, if I were talking to myself, this is what I would want to hear, this is what maybe other moms might want to hear. You're not alone and you're enough. So if it doesn't feel right, if something's off, if you just don't feel like it's resonating, it probably isn't. Just find that space where you are happy-
Rebekah: And your family is happy, and know that it may not be perfect but it just needs to be right. You're enough and you're doing an amazing job. You are not alone on this journey.
Catherine: No, I think that's so perfect, right. It's so, yeah. Great advice.
So thank you so much for being with us and sharing all your wisdom and insights and experience as a mom. I know other moms will, can totally relate to that and benefit from that. So thank you for joining us.
Rebekah: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.
About Rebekah Fedrowitz:
Rebekah is a board certified holistic nutritionist, wife, mother, and cooking enthusiast. In a world full of confusing health advice, Rebekah is revolutionizing a different path to wellness for busy moms struggling with anxiety, fatigue, and gut problems through her knowledge and expertise as a nutritionist. A busy mom herself, she understand how to enable you with the nutrition-based tools you need to finally experience mom life the way you were meant to—with joy, energy, and confidence, as well as give the necessary tools to provide long term wellness for your children and family.
Connect with Rebekah:
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/momswellnessconnection/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/youarewell/