Dr. Marti Erickson, developmental psychologist and her daughter Dr. Erin Erickson, women’s health nurse practitioner and specialist in maternal-child health, are co-hosts of Mom Enough®. They explore the many facets of motherhood in today’s world – from confronting the daily joys and struggles of helping kids grow up well, to balancing work and family, to considering the big questions of how society views and values mothers and mothering. Marti & Erin use research-based information and a few personal confessions as they and their guests discuss what it means to be "mom enough."
As moms, most of us worry at times about whether we're doing things right, second-guessing our parenting approach and blaming ourselves if our children stray or fall short. We worry that we might not be "mom enough". But what does it really mean to be "mom enough"? And is it possible to be "mom too much," to the extent that our kids might not have a chance to build their own skills to navigate life's ups and downs?
A new, free audio show is posted every Monday with expert guests who address topics related to children’s heath, development and learning. Listen to Mom Enough at www.MomEnough.com. Informational sheets on parenting, health & wellness, child development and safety are available under Resources on our web site.
Moms’ Roles, Dads’ Roles and the Myth of Equal Partnership: A Conversation with Darcy Lockman
Before you became a parent, how did you envision the way you and your partner would handle parenting responsibilities? Was a vision of "equal partnership" for household and parenting tasks a part of this? To what extent does the actual division of labor match your vision or expectations? If you’re like most families, there is a notable gap between expectations and reality, and that may be fine with you – or not!
Clinical psychologist and author Darcy Lockman, motivated in part by personal experience, has delved deeply into this topic. She brings what she has learned to this fascinating and important conversation with Marti & Erin. She explores assumptions about hormones and of parenting, cultural trends in intensive mothering, peaks and plateaus in active fathering and the often invisible work of the “mental load” of parenting. Most of all, Darcy urges couples to talk together about how they want to parent, especially before becoming parents. But, as Marti & Erin note, if you didn’t start then, start now!
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED A SENSE OF INEQUALITY OR EQUAL PARTNERSHIP IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
Make time to reflect (alone and/or with your partner) on how you share the responsibilities of parenting, both the visible and invisible tasks this week’s guest talked about. How do you feel about the equality of how the work is being done? How do you handle those feelings? What would you want to change and how could you begin with small steps, showing respect and sensitivity to your partner’s perceptions and feelings?
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
❉ ALL THE RAGE: MOTHERS, FATHERS, AND THE MYTH OF EQUAL PARTNERSHIP. Learn more about Darcy Lockman's book!
❉ TO OFTEN, WORKING MOTHERS DO FAR MORE OF THE CHILDCARE THAN THEIR HUSBANDS. Check out this article by Darcy Lockman for TIME.
❉ DON'T BE GRATEFUL THAT DAD DOES HIS SHARE. Check out this article by Darcy Lockman for The Atlantic.
❉ DADS MATTER: THE ROLE OF THE FATHER IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT AND WHAT MOMS CAN DO TO HELP DADS SUCCEED. Check out this Andre Dukes of the Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, joins Marti & Erin to discuss the role of the father in child development, the benefits of father involvement throughout a child’s life and what we all can do to help men be the dads their children need.
What Do You Say? William Stixrud on Effective Communication with Kids
Have you had one of those moments when you said the wrong thing to your child? Perhaps a time when you were angry and didn't communicate effectively? Or a distracted moment when you didn't acknowledge your child's feelings? The reality is, sometimes we're just not in the state of mind to communicate in effective ways. But, effective communication is essential for healthy relationships. So, what can we do to improve communication with our child or children? How should we talk with kids so that they will hear us and we will hear them?
William Stixrud, PhD, co-author of What Do You Say? How to Talk with Kids to Build Stress Tolerance, Motivation, and a Happy Home, joins Mom Enough to discuss how to talk with your children. He shares the importance of effective communication, how to increase the likelihood that your child will actually hear what you are trying to say, and how you can help your child understand their own thoughts and find their own reasons to change. You won't want to miss this insightful episode!
WHAT WILL YOU DO TO COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH YOUR CHILD?
Children listen better when they feel heard. What can you do to show empathy for your child? What step(s) will you take to listen without judgement? We can't communicate effectively when we're mad. So, next time you're angry with your child, how will you remind yourself to take a step back and save the communication for a time when you're not angry?
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMUNICATION?
❉ HOW YOU SAY IT: A LOOK AT LINGUISTICS WITH KATHERINE KINZLER, PHD. How do children learn language? What role does language play in prejudice? And, how can language play a role in how we fare emotionally and socially during the pandemic? Katherine Kinzler, author of How You Say It: Why You Talk the Way You Do and What It Says about You, addresses these questions and more in this thought-provoking interview with Marti and Erin of Mom Enough.
❉ LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE, LEARNING THROUGH LANGUAGE: A CONVERSATION WITH U OF M RESEARCHER MELISSA KOENIG. Very young children have a remarkable capacity to learn whatever language (or languages) they hear. But as we get older, we often struggle at learning a second language and may never “speak like a native” (as Marti learned years ago trying to order a beer in Sweden!). Why is that so? And, as parents, what should we do to support our children’s language development in both their primary language and second and third languages? You won’t want to miss this fascinating and helpful discussion with U of M Researcher Melissa Koenig of a topic of great importance in today’s diverse world.
❉ EFFECTIVE LANGUAGE STIMULATION FOR CHILDREN: BUILDING RICH LANGUAGE LEARNING INTO EVERYDAY LIFE, USING YOUR PRIMARY LANGUAGE AND CULTURAL TRADITIONS. You’ve heard how crucial parents are to children’s language development, but does that prompt you to think, “Oh, no, one more thing I have to do!” If so, this Mom Enough guest will ease your mind with great tips on how to work effective language stimulation into things you already are doing.
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Early Identification and Intervention to Support Your Young Child’s Development
Babies and young children are learning and doing new things every day. But parents often worry that their child’s development isn’t quite the same as the child next door. Or, perhaps they notice that their child’s development seems slower in one area than another (walking early, for example, but not beginning to say words). There is a wide range of what’s normal in early childhood, and it’s not unusual for a child to develop at different rates in different domains. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to check out concerns.
The good news is that there are free resources to help you know if your child’s development is on track. These resources include online, research-based information about developmental milestones, as well as early childhood screening (free for any young child). If screening identifies a possible problem and further assessment shows that your child qualifies, free early intervention services are available. These supports are tailored to your child’s needs and your preferences (with services available, for example, in your home or even online). In this episode of Mom Enough, Anna Paulson, Program Coordinator for Help Me Grow Minnesota, brings a wealth of information and practical ideas for how you can understand and support your child’s optimal development. And she makes a strong case for how early intervention can make a lifelong difference for a child’s learning and development.
IS YOUR CHILD'S DEVELOPMENT ON TRACK?
Visit the Help Me Grow website and take a look at the information and videos on developmental milestones for a child the age of yours. What does this suggest about how your child is learning and developing in different areas (motor, language, cognitive, social-emotional)? What ideas did you get from guest Anna Paulson about how to support your child’s development at home?
IS YOUR CHILD MEETING THEIR DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES?
❉ Help Me Grow. Check out Help Me Grow MN for information on developmental milestones, encouraging healthy development, and getting help if you have concerns about a child's development. You can also find Help Me Grow on Facebook and Instagram (developmental videos).
❉ CDC on Developmental Milestones. Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's resources on child development. Track your child's development and get a downloadable PDF with developmental information by age. You can also learn about the Milestone Tracker app for monitoring your child's development.
❉ Minnesota Learn the Signs Act Early. Minnesota Act Early is an outreach campaign that promotes early screening and identification of potential developmental delays. Get information on healthy development, early signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental delays, and early intervention options.
The Psychology of Exercise: A Discussion on the Mental Health Benefits of Physical Activity
You know how essential regular exercise is for a healthy heart and strong body, but do you know that exercise and mental health are also closely linked? Discovering the energy and positive mood that exercise provides can become a powerful motivator to make exercise a habit.
Dr. Beth Lewis, psychologist and Director of the School of Kinesiology in the U of M’s College of Education and Human Development, conducts research on how to motivate people to exercise regularly. And recently, she has been studying the effects of exercise on depression in pregnant and postpartum women. Drawing her research on exercise and mental health, Beth joins Marti & Erin for an informative and motivating conversation about ways to stick to an exercise program, how to help your children make exercise a regular part of their routine and how much exercise we need in order to reap optimal benefits for our physical and mental health.
HOW WILL YOU USE EXERCISE TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
How much exercise do you get in a typical week? How about your kids? And how does that measure up to the most recent guidelines, described by Dr. Beth Lewis in this podcast? Think of three small steps you could take to enhance the way exercise is integrated into your family’s daily life.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
❉ College of Education + Human Development
❉ Exercise Pregnancy Study, Healthy Mom Program
❉ Physical activity guidelines for during pregnancy and postpartum
❉ Healthy moms article by Dr. Beth Lewis
❉ Maintaining Your Mental Health –For Your Sake and Your Children’s by Marti Erickson
College Health Tips: How to Manage Food, Booze, Stress, and More
Do you have a teen about to start college? Or, is there a college-aged young adult you know who might benefit from some helpful tips on how to stay healthy or get healthier? Or, are you looking for a one-stop, comprehensive resource on college health? Whether you have a child just starting college who is looking to prevent the "freshman 15" or a young adult upperclassmen seeking to avoid the risks of alcohol use, you won't want to miss next week's Mom Enough show!
Tune in as authors Jill and Dave Henry join Erin and her daughter, Clara (a high school senior amid her college search) for an honest and to-the point discussion on college health. Listen to some true (and perhaps surprising) stories about college students' experiences with the transition to college. Get tips on avoiding college weight gain, preventing the pitfalls of alcohol use, reducing stress, and getting adequate sleep. Walk away with wisdom from the Henrys' accessible book, The Greatest College Health Guide You Never Knew You Needed.
WHAT WILL YOU DO TO ENSURE YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH IN COLLEGE?
What were you most surprised about when it came to the insights from college students' about their transition to college? What tips from this episode are you most likely to share with your college-age child? How will you support your child in managing stress?
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT COLLEGE HEALTH & PARENTING A COLLEGE STUDENT?
❉ HOW COLLEGE MAKES OR BREAKS US. Best-selling author Paul Tough spent six years exploring colleges in 21 states. He interviewed faculty, SAT tutors and students from all walks of life, concluding that higher education as an engine of social mobility is breaking down. He joins Marti & Erin in this episode to discuss highlights of what he learned and to offer action steps for college admissions, alumni, and public officials who make decisions on higher education funding.
❉ PARENTING COLLEGE STUDENTS: A FREE ONLINE RESOURCE FOR ALL PARENTS. It’s a big change for parents when children begin college. Parenting college students is a new phase of parenting! If our kids go away to school, we may wonder what is really going on in their lives. Jodi Dworkin and Marjorie Savage from the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) put their knowledge and experience to work in developing a rich new website, Parenting College Students, to help parents of college students wherever they are. Marti & Erin are glad to know this website will be here for them when the next generation in their family head to college!
Digital Equity for Children and Families: Barriers, Solutions & Ways to Get Involved
Having a strong, stable internet connection and up-to-date equipment is more important today than ever. Connectivity is essential for children’s school success, parents’ access to information about health and safety, health and mental health services that often are delivered virtually. Social connections for all family members, especially as the uncertainty of the pandemic continues, is another important reason for internet access. Yet, too many children and families still lack the connection they need. So what are the factors that account for this lack of digital equity? And what are solutions at the level of individual families, schools, other organizations and communities as a whole?
In this week’s episode of Mom Enough, Stacey Nelson Kumar, Director of Community Impact for Comcast Twin Cities Region, joins Marti & Erin for an important discussion of the barriers to digital equity. She shares creative solutions that are making it possible for Twin Cities families and children, whatever their income or background, to get connected in their homes and throughout the community. Learn about Internet Essentials for families, Comcast’s Partnership Programs that meet people where they are, and more than 70 free Lift Zones throughout the metro area. Most important, learn how you or people you know can take advantage of these initiatives. And, if you don’t live in the Twin Cities or Minnesota, get ideas for how your own community might engage internet providers in stepping up to promote digital equity.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO ADDRESS DIGITAL EQUITY?
What are some of the barriers to digital equity Stacey Nelson Kumar identified in this Mom Enough discussion? What did you learn about solutions at the family level? At the level of schools or other community organizations? If you live in the Twin Cities Metro area, how could you or others you know benefit from programs such as Internet Essentials, the Partnership Program or the more than 70 Lift Zones in this community?
WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIGITAL ACCESS?
❉ MOM ENOUGH LIVE: WIRED FOR SUCCESS. Tune in to the second Mom Enough Live discussion on removing barriers to internet access for online learning with co-hosts, Dr. Erin Erickson and Dr. Marti Erickson, and guest expert, Stacey Nelson-Kumar of Comcast. Learn about digital equity, how Comcast is connecting low-income families with internet through their Internet Essentials program, how you can find out if you qualify for low-cost internet, and what you can do to help families in the community get connected!
❉ MOM ENOUGH LIVE: MANAGING SCREEN TIME DURING COVD-19. Tune in to the third Mom Enough Live discussion on managing screen time during the pandemic with co-hosts, Dr. Erin Erickson and Dr. Marti Erickson, and guest expert, Jill Hornbacher of Comcast. Learn about parents’ biggest concerns about their children’s internet use, how the pandemic has changed screen time usage, why it’s difficult to stay on top of your family’s internet use, how parents can manage screen time, and what resources will help parents do this at ho...