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Dr. Whitney Casares | Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself | The Breakdown with Bethany

Dr Whitney Casares The Breakdown with Bethany MomCaveTV interview

Whitney Casares M.D. is a private-practice pediatrician, an AAP Spokesperson & Published Author, Podcast Host, and a mom to two young girls in Portland, Oregon. She is also the founder of the Modern Mommy Doc and the Modern Mamas Membership community dedicated to helping women thrive in motherhood and parenting. She’s pretty much your very knowledgeable best mom friend.

Dr. Whitney is all about helping moms so that they can help their kids. In our chat, we talk about self-care (the real kind), her amazing second book, and what she’s struggling with currently.

The Working Mom Blueprint

Bethany Braun-Silva :
So I first want to talk about this book, The Working Mom Blueprint. I have to say when I read the little, I mean, I don’t know the subtitle, Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself. I almost started tearing up and that’s where I guess I am right now in my parenting life. So can you talk to me a little bit about it? I mean, it’s your second book, but what was the inspiration behind it? What was the research, the writing process like and how has it been received so far?

Whitney Caseres:
Absolutely. So, yeah, it’s my second book. And the first book that I wrote was about how to take care of yourself in that first newborn period. Like how do you not completely lose it when you’re in the midst of sleeplessness and trying to feed a baby and all of that. And that really in pediatrics is a huge focus for us. We care so much about that newborn period, but then I realized as I started talking to other moms in my pediatrics practice, like what about all the time after that?

What about your entire working experience? If you’re a working mom or there are lots of moms that are at home that have unpaid work that they’re doing. Right. What about all those moms? And so after I had agreed with the American Academy of Pediatrics to write the first book, then they said, well, would you want to write a second book too?

Dr. Whitney Caseres on The Breakdown with Bethany

Whitney Caseres:
Because what we really want is to think about this idea of not just how do we help kids thrive as the American Academy of Pediatrics, but how do we help moms and families thrive so that kids can thrive. Like we can’t put the cart before the horse, so to speak. So I started talking with other working moms. I started talking with experts in the field, psychologists with experts on screen time, on self-care. And then of course, whenever you write a book with the American Academy of Pediatrics, you work extensively with their committees and policies, stakeholders, and all those types of things.

Real-World Parenting Styles & Help

Whitney Caseres:
And so we worked together to make sure that it had a lot of really tactical information about child development and about what’s normal. We talk about what’s really helpful for kids in terms of eating, exercise, sleep and parenting styles. And then, of course, I threw in my own flavor and all the things that I’ve learned at Modern Mommy Doc talking with moms in the real world because I did not want it to be like an ivory tower type of book. I really wanted it to be like, I’m in the trenches with you and so let me get really real.

Bethany Braun-Silva :
So speaking of the trenches, what is something that you’re struggling with? I mean, because you wrote this amazing book, you’re a mom of two, and you’re a pediatrician. So from the outside looking in, it could seem like, okay, she’s got it together. She is… So what are you struggling with right now?

Whitney Caseres:
Yeah, that’s a good question. And here’s the thing. If I can’t be vulnerable with people then I have like nothing to give. I really think that. Brene Brown, right, vulnerability is like the biggest gift that we can give to ourselves and to other people. In the book, I talk a lot about my relationship with my husband and about struggles that we went through earlier on when we were trying to figure out what was happening with her. And I will say my husband is a very social person and my daughter McKenna, who is my oldest I write about a ton in the book she is too. And COVID took a toll on these little exuberant people who are super smart and who could not be duped by like niceties. Like it’s all going to be fine. It’s going to be good. Don’t worry. Just hold on.

Parenting and Self-Care

Whitney Caseres:
Both of them were like, this is horrible. The world’s ending. Like, let’s just call it. It’s hard because I don’t always want to be the bubbly one. I don’t always want to carry the torch for our family. Sometimes I need respite. Sometimes I need someone taking care of me and really this year I feel like I’ve been holding the family together. And so now that things are opening up a bit, I have really poured into like, I have to go to my exercise class that I love going to with other people.

I have to take time to listen to the music that I love. I have to sit outside on the porch and put headphones in and read a book or listen to a podcast that I love. So I think the struggle has just been making sure that I continue to show up for myself in a time when those around me, my patients, my partner, my kids just have like needed so much from me, just remembering if I don’t have myself I have nothing to give.

Bethany Braun-Silva :
Yeah. And I mean, we talk a lot in my profession and of course with you, your profession as well, we talk a lot about self-care but lately, I feel like it’s just become this like buzzword, right? It’s self-care, manis, pedis, massages. If that’s what you like to do then fine. But then there’s like, I don’t know if you’ve seen these memes or these Instagram reels, where it’s like moms doing self-care, but they’re really just doing parenting and household chores and just personal hygiene things that they have to do anyway.

Whitney Caseres:
Right, right.

Advocate For Yourself

Bethany Braun-Silva :
So I want to know how can moms sort of advocate for themselves first of all, even while parenting within their own families for self-care, and then really just, I don’t know. I mean, because obviously, we all need it, but it’s so hard to get ourselves to do it. So how do we do it?

Whitney Caseres:
Totally. I think it comes down to finding out or being aware of what makes you feel the most alive and awake. Those are the things that really care for your soul. Right. So for me, music is the thing that always makes me feel the most alive and awake. So self-care for me pre COVID could be like going to a concert with my husband. Right. And like being totally in that moment with him and connected. That’s self-care.

I love really good food. So self-care could be going out to dinner with a girlfriend. I love movement. So self-care could be, I’m like in my basement doing like a yoga thing and not for exercise to fit into a size zero more for like, oh my gosh, that stretch feels so good on my body. Right. So those are the things that when I think about like what would I do on my perfect day if I had nothing else to do no obligations, no kids, no husband, what would I choose to do?

Coping Mechanisms

Whitney Caseres:
That’s what I always come back to as like that’s what I need to integrate into my life over time and in the book because I feel like it’s not enough to just say, just go do those things sometimes. I tried to be a little bit formulaic about it, to say, you want to practice self-care, finding yourself, being awake, being alive enough times, returning to your passion, what brings you joy, but then you like remember how good it feels.

And so that it’s like, it’s filling up your cup every day, a little bit, as opposed to your cup completely draining. And then you got to pour like a whole gallon and it’s like overflowing and it’s way too much. Right. I think that’s what kind of makes this almost like bulimic or like yo-yo thing that happens with moms where it’s like deprive ourselves, self-sacrifice, give every single thing to parenting our kids, give every single thing to our jobs.

Whitney Caseres:
And then we’re like, I’m empty, I’m miserable. And then we go do something that copes, that’s a coping mechanism that’s maybe not as healthy. Right. We overeat, or we drink too much alcohol, or we binge watch Netflix for like three days in a row, or we explode at our kids and say I’ve had it, like I need to get out of here. Right. The key for me is to have like microdoses of that self-care every single day. And I practice that by doing five minutes, a day of some type of quiet time with myself right, like doing a guided meditation. And I’m horrible at thinking of what I should meditate on. So I do guided ones, like I use other people.

Bethany Braun-Silva :
That’s what I do too. I can’t do it on my own. I need a guide.

Being Intentional

Whitney Caseres:
Totally. Like, please. That’s probably why I need exercise classes too, right, is because I can’t sit there. And I’m horrible. If I’m by myself at home, the pandemic was ridiculous for me because I’d be like looking at my phone while the person was on the screen trying to talk to me. I got to be in a dark room where they basically lock me in and turn all the lights off and just say like, just listen to this. So yes, five minutes of meditation, five minutes of journaling, five minutes where you tell your partner or your kids, if you don’t have a partner like I’m locking the door, this is mommy’s special time where she’s just going to be like by herself and let the water run on her for an extra five minutes. Right. Listening again, to your favorite song.

Whitney Caseres:
It does not have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be intense. And then what I do in my own life and recommend is that people set aside on their schedule, on their calendar three hours a week, one-hour chunks where it is that like larger amount of time where they get to sink into what is the thing that brings me joy. And again, sitting on a porch, reading a book, going out to dinner with a friend, like taking a walk around the block. Right. Whatever it is, that’s the thing that makes, in nature, whatever it is, is the thing that kind of brings you back to you.

Modern Mommy Doc

Bethany Braun-Silva :
I love that. I love that. I’m only up to like chapter two because I just got the book and of course have no time, but I can’t wait to tear through this thing because I was skimming it just now and it looks incredible. Final question. Tell us a little bit about the Modern Mommy Doc community, this website, you have an Instagram community, tell us how you built that up and what it means to you?

Whitney Caseres:
Yeah. So I really believe in, we can teach moms the way that will be easier for them in the long run. We can give them a framework, we can give them a north star, but if we want moms to sustainably have a life that is more centered versus conflicted, we have to support them. They have to have other people around them. There are so many haters out there, right? Even like extended family can be haters where you’re like, why am I having to explain to you that I have work to do today? This is bizarre. And so you need people around you that really get you, that understands you, that are on that same journey with you, that can lift you up.

Podcast and IG Parenting Blog

Whitney Caseres:
And so Modern Mommy Doc, we built it at first to be a podcast and a parenting blog in the Instagram community. And then now we are evolving it, actually really excited. Next month, we’re evolving it to be a modern mama’s club. All of our on-demand programming that we have, we have videos on-demand that are about parenting and partnership with a spouse, with a partner, with whoever’s in your parenting village.

We have one on navigating kids’ emotions. and videos on being a new mom that goes through basically our entire first book. We have one on our signature conflicted-to-centered program and model. So we’re having that and then we’re doing live events with experts who can come in and talk about specific topics within there, and then chats and forums and ways to get support. So we’re really trying to dive into this idea of sustainability, accountability, how do you stay aligned over time?

Bethany Braun-Silva :
I can’t wait for that. I’m really excited about that. Thank you so much. Okay. So here’s the book again, The Working Mom Blueprint. And tell us where we can find you and where we can get the book.

Whitney Caseres:
Yeah. So the book is available wherever books are sold online, in bookstores and you can find me @modernmommydoc on Instagram or at modernmommydoc.com. Awesome. Thank you so much.

Bethany Braun-Silva :
Absolutely.

Listen to this episode as a podcast:

The breakdown with Bethany MomCaveTV Dr Whitney Cesares Modern Mommy Doc interview
Bethany Braun Silva

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