Doing it ALL: Overcome Over-Functioning | Dr. Whitney Casares | MomCave LIVE
Hey, crazy parents of the MomCave universe! Tonight, we’ve snagged the superhero of sanity herself, Dr. Whitney Casares, to unravel the mysteries of “Doing it ALL.” Yes, folks, she’s the wizard who knows how to balance parenting, work, and probably a secret side hustle as a ninja. If you’ve ever wondered how to manage the chaos without losing your mind, stick around. We’re about to dive into the magical world of parenting with Dr. Whitney Casares and her soon-to-be legendary book. Buckle up, because this is MomCave LIVE, where we tackle the absurdity of parenthood one laugh at a time!
Jen: Welcome to MomCave LIVE, where we may have lost our minds. But we have not lost our sense of humor. And we’re live tonight with a very fun guest. I’m going to bring her on. Tada. Welcome Dr. Witt.
Dr Whitney Casares: Thank you so much.
How did “Doing it All” Happen?
Jen: You’re very welcome. When I saw the title of your book I thought that we have to have you come on right away. Because I need you, we need you. The title is Doing it ALL: Stop Over-Functioning and Become the Mom and Person You’re Meant to Be. I think a lot of us can identify with over-functioning. And so I thought we could just talk about that a little tonight. What got you into the idea of writing this book? And how do you know?
Dr Whitney Casares: Exactly. First of all, the reason that I wrote the book, it’s not that I was born the most skilled at being able to juggle all the things and not be stressed out as a mom. It’s because I kind of earned my stripes the hard way. I’m trained as a pediatrician, went to Stanford, went to Berkeley, and got my public health degree in maternal and child health.
Book-wise, I kind of knew all the answers as to what parents should be doing, and moms specifically, to be able to take care of their kids the best possible and also when things influenced in a family, how kids don’t do well.
The reality check
But when I had my first daughter, it became much more real, my oldest daughter has autism, and she’s 10 years old now. And that push and pull of kind of trying to do work as hard as possible, trying to do life as hard as possible, trying to be a good mom, it just nothing was by the book.
I had to kind of reimagine what life was. I think the main thing, and the crux of the book is to reprioritize, what matters the most to me, and what matters the most to me as a parent, in terms of raising kids that will succeed in life. And by succeed, I do not mean Harvard, I mean, succeed in terms of being the type of person people want to be around. Like being able to pay for their own therapy, and all that good stuff.
The book was born out of all of the challenges and journeys that I went through as myself as a mom. When I saw all these moms in my clinical practice struggling too, I developed this foundational kind of framework that now I use with moms all across the nation, that helps them really to figure out what matters most. And how do I spend more time doing that stuff?
Who else is doing it all?
Jen: Less time and energy and all the other stuff? That doesn’t matter because it feels like all those other things take up so much time, yet if we stop over-functioning and doing it all, who else is going to do it? That’s how we feel. How do you answer that? Who else is gonna do it?
Dr Whitney Casares: To me, there are four things that you can do with all the stuff that comes at you as a mom. Number one is, you’re gonna write it down. Get some notes. Number one is so you can do it with more efficiency or effectiveness. As a pediatrician, I have to write notes, and I have to write emails, how can I do that without taking up as much time as I need to?
Doing it all just creates more to do
How do I create systems, algorithms, and templates for things? That’s what a lot of people do when they talk about getting more stuff done on your list, that’s where they focus.
The problem is, those things are great. But if you don’t have other strategies as well, you’re just gonna get everything done faster and easier. And then if you’re functioning, just gonna add more stuff to your list, and do it faster and easier and have even more resentment.
Jen: I identify with the statement. If you have any questions or comments about what Dr. Whitney is talking about, please just pop in the comments because we’re watching them and she will answer your questions, that’s a really good point you made just there because for me, and for a lot of my friends that are moms, you feel like you’re always behind. If you catch up a little on something, then you’re like, “But I have all these other things I’m behind on.” It doesn’t mean catch up and I get to relax a little. It means doing more things.
Always more to do
Dr Whitney Casares: Sometimes when you’re in the rhythm of doing more things all the time constantly and in go-go-go mode as a mom, it starts to feel bad when you’re not doing anything. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that, I see the mom but see to myself that when there’s dead space, then you figure out even more stuff to do.
Jen: I’m sure that some of that has to do with sitting and just being with our emotions, or whatever’s going on in life, you don’t have the distraction of busyness. But for me, I’m also very visually stimulated. If I sit down on the sofa, in the middle of my house, my eyes will take in 500 things that need to be done. So it is really hard to relax. What kind of ways have you helped moms learn to relax?
Easier doing it all outside
Dr Whitney Casares: I think your point about being in your house is for so many moms. If you need to get out of your house to be able to get more done. I do so much better work at a coffee shop. If I’m writing, for example, I really cannot do that very effectively at my house unless I’m editing something I’ve already written. If I’m trying to be creative, I have to do it. Not at my home. So I’ll go someplace.
That’s one tip. The other thing is to think about, what is in your actual home environment. What stuff do you need to take away to make it so that you have less that you need to focus on? What do you need to declutter? That’s one of the other strategies you can use in your life. To physically declutter your space, and declutter your calendar. Sometimes as moms, we’ll put stuff on our calendar, even a nail appointment, or hair appointment, or whatever. In the name of a kind of self-care, doing stuff, or we’ll join the volunteer PTA. Because we want to make sure that we’re contributing. And some of that stuff is great, if it’s in your heart, you care so deeply about the PTA.
Clear Space, Clear Calendar, Relax
If you don’t, it’s okay. Take a look at your physical space and your calendar. Do I have these things here out of guilt, or because I feel bad to get rid of it? Do I feel obligated? Maybe someone else is telling me I should do it. That can be a way to have less of that distraction to be able to focus and relax. The third thing I would say is, that practice makes perfect. If you’re someone who’s used to running at really high gear all the time, sometimes it’s what you have to do to get yourself into the rhythm of it.
This was true for me, during the holiday break. For example, I came off a really busy season, and then I said “Okay, I’m just gonna sit here for 30 seconds. I’m gonna close my eyes for 30 seconds”. Or be quiet with myself for 30 seconds, because that’s all I can handle. And then next time, I’ll make it a minute, two minutes, three minutes. Don’t be afraid if what you need is “All I’m going to do is take five breaths in my car before I go into my house”, that is a great way to practice kind of slowing down and being able to relax more and be able to be more focused.
Guilty for Relaxing
Jen: And we often feel guilty when we do that. We don’t deserve to take five breaths in the car. We have to get out and get those groceries right away. That’s a hard thing.
Dr Whitney Casares: That’s the third thing, a lot of times when we feel guilty for taking some extra time for ourselves. Even five minutes, I mean, think about it. That’s a totally common statement that I hear too when you think about that, logically, that’s ridiculous. I can’t take five minutes to myself to relax to be like that.
Humans cannot run without taking five minutes to relax. We don’t need to be the supermoms, but part of that strategy is about setting boundaries. One of the most important boundaries to me and the hardest for people to take on as moms and to hold is a self-boundary.
A self-boundary that’s healthy means you’re not taking the temperature of other people more than you’re taking your temperature. You’re not thinking about other people’s needs, even more than you’re thinking of your own. Being able to put yourself on that even playing field with everybody else’s needs to say, “Yes, my kids need to eat but also if I don’t eat something right now, I’m going to faint, or I’m going to be angry, or I’m going to blow up with everybody”, you know?
Jen: Hangry Mama is not good.
Dr Whitney Casares: Because it always comes out somewhere, that’s the thing I’m always reminding moms is that you can deprive yourself forever and ever and ever. I understand that. Many things in society make it so that we’re conditioned to do that, and that we’re in that place. In the end, it’s going to come out somewhere, it’s going to come out in you being angrier, it’s going to come out in migraines, it’s going to come out in depression and anxiety, there’s that book, the body remembers, the body keeps score, it gets stored either emotionally or physically. And then it usually comes out unfortunately at the worst possible time, you break down and you can’t go to an important meeting or can’t go to your kid’s performance or whatever.
Is it just Moms?
Jen: I’ve had a few of those moments, actually today. Right now. Why do you think we shouldn’t get too deep into this? I’m just curious, why do you think that moms have this problem? It seems like more than dads.
Dr Whitney Casares: A couple of reasons. Number one, think about the fact that for generations, centuries, or eons women have been carrying the load of childcare, they have been subservient to men, and they haven’t been on the same playing field. We have so much tradition of inequity for moms where we’ve been taught I’m not supposed to take up as much space as anybody else. My job is to be a caregiver and a servant. That’s number one. Number two is this idea that we’re taught to be pleasing as little girls, that a good girl is always polite, that we follow directions, that we’re always kind of helping everybody else that we don’t like, stick up too much.
Unfortunately, that means that once we get into relationships with men in particular, it makes it hard for us sometimes to stand our ground and say, “Listen, it deserves to be equal”. The next thing is that women have not been in the workplace that long in the same capacity that they have recently been in. We’re in a new era, where women are in CEO positions in the C suite, they’re running their businesses like I am, and just one generation ago my in-laws, my parents, my dad wasn’t changing diapers in the same way that my husband is, and or was when my kids were little, and just have to remember, I think that these things take time and that they take accountability.
Thank goodness there’s much more new information that’s come out about the mental load that women are starting to say, “Hey, this isn’t fair”. I’m doing work at work, and also at home. Just being aware of that, and having our partner aware of it isn’t going to solve the problem. It has to be that we’re constantly talking about when we’re with other couples that we’re talking about how you share things. Who takes the kids to school? Do you do that?
I think in my household, honestly, we’ve invested in couples therapy just to try to get at reality checking, who’s doing what, and why and how it makes everybody feel when the woman is the one in the household who’s taking on every single thing and feeling resentful part to be a romantic relationship when you’re feeling kind of like you’re getting the really short end of the stick.
Jen: Definitely, it’s very hard to be romantic. If you feel resentful. Sometimes. I realized that it feels like we’re doing it all sometimes. And it helps me to think a little bit about the things that my partner is doing that I don’t even think about. I couldn’t care less whether the oil in the car gets changed. I know that’s stereotypical, but that’s his department, he does that. I have to sometimes remind myself that when I’m mad I’m the one that always does the laundry or whatever. Kind of reminding myself of that. It’s, in a way, I think we’re feeling overloaded. It’s sort of that all-or-nothing thinking of, “We just make it so big”.
The Fourth Strategy
Dr Whitney Casares: That’s the fourth strategy, just sharing the load with other people. The other thing that I would say is that your partner is not the end-all-be-all for every single thing. You live in a household with your partner, but if you have kids and they’re old enough, pediatrician hat on, even kids as young as two, can do chores. Getting your kids to help is great. If you have a neighbor that you can swap tasks with, I’m not trying to let men off the hook, I am saying if you’re in a relationship with a man, it might not be that he’s able to meet all your needs, or that’s gonna happen overnight.
Sometimes You Need a Little Help
What can you do in the meantime? Not everyone can hire help to do laundry or to do grocery shopping for you. But for example, for me, sometimes as a CEO of a company, if I could make hundreds of dollars in an hour, and I could pay someone $15 to go get the groceries, that does make sense financially for them to do that in certain seasons. Now, that hasn’t always been the case.
I want to be sensitive to lots of different people out there. There have been times when I’ve eaten lunch at Costco, three meals a day, til I get by, so it’s all good. But if you’re leaning into something career-wise, and you need extra help from other people, I think that’s a big thing for women is that we start to feel kind of guilty. If we’re paying someone else to do, quote, unquote, our job, if there are two working people in the household, it makes sense that you might need that third person to help you out with some of the chores.
It Takes More Than a Village
Jen: I mean, it takes more than a village , it takes a lot of people to care for a child. Dr. Whitney is going to give away a signed copy of the book to somebody who leaves a comment or asks your question. Go ahead and do that. We have a few more minutes, my problem and problem lots of people here, I think sometimes it’s annoying. What is enough? Like what is enough to do? How do we get to the crux of like, what are the things we should be doing? And when we can be like, Okay, I’ve got enough on my plate. How do you do that?
Dr Whitney Casares: Good question. My husband yesterday, he goes, “You know, I think you need a hobby”. I don’t think so, I have plenty of stuff that I do. I don’t need a hobby. But the way I figure out what I want to spend my time and energy on, and that’s how I coach other women, you and in the book, we talked about it, here’s a little postcard and how it looks, is to figure out what are the top five things that are a combination of things that give you a lot of energy that are kind of energy drivers versus energy drainers. Last that meets your values.
Define Where You Focus
We walk through in great detail exactly how to figure this out. It sounds more complicated than it is. It’s not how to just define what are the five areas that if someone said, “Hey, you have a week, you could do whatever you want with this time. Where would you spend your time, your energy, your focus?” I help people to define those things. First, I call them the center points and your center region. And that outside of that is where you place all this other junk that has to get done, the dishes don’t live in the middle of my centered vision, I don’t care one thing about this they have to get done, but I’m not gonna spend all day making sure that they’re perfectly aligned in my cabinet. I do care a ton about contributing to other women.
When there’s a request on my time to do that, for example, right now, I’m almost always going to say yes, because that’s in full alignment with my values and things that I love to do. And that makes me feel really good. I’m almost always going to say yes to really deep connections with my kids.
Not Everything Means Something
That doesn’t mean that I’m going to spend every waking moment with them. Because I spend 24/7 with them, it’s not great. I mean, I’m gonna invest in those moments that feel like we’re reading together. We’re cuddling on a couch. We’re really listening to them, those times where we feel they’re asking for my attention because they’re having a problem with a friend. That’s how I help people to define what are the things that they feel are meaningful in their lives. How do we get more of you to those things?
Jen: As trite as it sounds, I like to think, on your deathbed are you going to care that the dishes were always done? Are you going to care that you spent that quality time? We’re not here as experts. We’re having this conversation because we’re trying to figure it out too. And Dr. Whitney is further along in that than I am for sure. Tell everybody where they can find out more about you and your work and
Modern Mommy Doc
Dr Whitney Casares: My website, it’s called Modern Mommy Doc. We have a weekly blog that goes out. There’s a weekly podcast or bi-weekly podcast that goes out. I have lots of cool guests that come on there. I have three books. One is about newborns. One is about working moms with the American Academy of Pediatrics, and then this new book that’s coming out Doing it ALL. It’s out on January 30.
It’s available wherever books are sold. If you go on my website before January 30, the day that it comes out, you can get a free one-hour consultation with me to help when you’re feeling stuck, and you get free access to our app, which has over 100 hours of video library content, audiovisual stuff that you put together on navigating kids emotions, getting a parenting partner on board like a husband or you know, partner if you have one, how to help in terms of getting yourself all that self-care that you need. So, there are lots of bonuses right now they’re happening just as the book is about to come out.
Don’t Read and Drive
Jen: That’s cool. I mean, for the hour consultation alone, you ought to get the book
Dr Whitney Casares: It’s on audiobook and regular. So if you’re a busy person, and you’re driving or commuting, that’s a good way to do it too.
Jen: Definitely, don’t read and drive.
Dr Whitney Casares: No.
Jen: Thank you so much for talking with me and for sharing some of this. Hopefully, you have given people a little bit of a glimmer into how we can stop doing it all. Let’s feel okay about it. And you guys go get the book. It’s a really good book. You’re gonna want it. Thank you so much.
Dr Whitney Casares: Thank you. Take care.
Jen: Take care.
Listen to this episode about Doing it ALL | Dr. Whitney Casares | MomCave LIVE
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Find Dr. Whitney on:
Instagram: @modernmommydoc (32k followers)
Modern Mommy Doc Website: here
Buy Doing It All: here
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