Building Parental Resilience with Guest Peg Sadie

This week the Mental Health Mamas are joined by psychotherapist and resilience coach, Peg Sadie, who is on a mission to reshape the legacy of maternal health. Tune in to hear Peg share how her own experiences as a mother brought her to this work, the stigma around asking for help, and what real self-care actually looks like.

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Tina: Hey everyone, I'm Tina

Serena: And I'm Serena, and we are the Mental Health Mamas.


Tina: Welcome to No Need to Explain. We are so glad you're here.

Serena: First, as always, a quick disclaimer.

Tina: We come to you not as mental health professionals or experts in the fields, but rather as parents look lived experience who are on a mission to normalize the conversation around mental health.

Serena: If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health crisis, please seek professional support. You'll find a variety of resources in our show notes and on our website

Tina: Since you and I met Serena, we have valued the connection we feel over parenting. In the last eight years or so, we always remember that because that's how old her youngest is. She was a baby. We've quietly supported parents and we've even brought them together to help support the need we all have to connect.

Serena: Absolutely. So today we have a guest who is on a mission to reshape the legacy of maternal health. She is a mother of two who hopes to help thousands of moms feel less alone and more empowered in their motherhood journey. She's a psychotherapist and resilience coach. Peg Sadie, welcome to the podcast.

Peg: Hi, thank you so much for having me. I'm so super excited to be here today.

Tina: Awesome. So, Peg, you like us support other parents, specifically moms. Tell us a bit of your story and how you came to do the work you're doing right now.

Peg: Sure, I'd love to. So, I am professionally trained as a psychotherapist and I started my career working in both private practice with families and kids and then also in a private school setting as the therapist on site for kids with special needs. Love, love, love, love, that work. But what happened to me is after the birth of my, I always knew I wanted to work with kids and families. And after the birth of my first son, he is now almost going to be 16. Wow. I can not believe that I said that out loud. I experienced crippling postpartum depression and anxiety. And, you know, 16 years ago, I realized and it shifted a little bit but they weren't any resources for, you know, struggling moms for overwhelmed moms outside of talk therapy. So, I did the traditional route, talk therapy, you know, medication, but I met going and sitting at my therapist's office week after week and just being like, tell me what to do so I can feel like myself again. I was this go getter. I was just living my best life excited about motherhood and then it just was this downward spiral and I didn't want to talk about my problems for an hour. You know, I just, I would leave and cry or leave feeling worse. You know, some things helped me at some enlightenment but it is very, you know, it's not a directive protocol, right? There's not, you know, super future oriented or goal-oriented. So, I just realized there was this gap and I decided to transition from psychotherapy into coaching because I wanted to, I think that talk therapy is beautiful, has definitely has a place a lot of moms that I work with are also in talk therapy at the same time that I'm working with them. But I think it really has its limitations and I wanted to create programs that were part community, part education, part coaching and just allowed moms to feel seen and heard and feel less alone and have a more like holistic approach to healing. So, essentially I went out and created what I needed at the time for myself and that is the journey that's brought here today.

Serena: Hmm, that's awesome. I know that I think we've had a lot of guests that talk about that idea and that's, you know, why Tina and I are doing what we do is this idea that when we recognize something that we need, we realize that other people might also have that need as well. And so, you know, the idea of asking for help is hard. I say culturally, I would say as moms, as parents and, you know, personally, that's true and also true for other parents that we've connected with. So, can you talk a little bit about the stigma around asking for help?

Peg: Oh my gosh, this is such a good one. Thank you for asking this question and something that I personally struggled with. Wow. And part of it had to do with the things have changed a little bit. Women are talking more about their, a little bit more about their struggles and sharing, but what there was such a shame and stigma surrounding mood disorders, especially around postpartum because you think, oh, you have this child, you're, you know, you should be happy and you should be celebrating this time. You know, so it was kind of like you would, if you complained and you followed by, but he's such a blessing or such a joy. You feel this need, like you feel like you're a bad mom if you just like complain that like, oh, motherhood isn't amazing. Motherhood isn't awesome. And I get this a lot from moms when I ask them how things are going. Some, some are candid, but a lot of times they're like, oh, it's so great. The best that ever happened to me and I'm like, lies. These are lies. I know you're lying. We've all been there. It's okay to not, you know, enjoy your role 24 hours a day. It is hard work. It is very rewarding, but hard. So, um, so yes, so I took me over 10 years to admit that I struggled, you know, almost over a decade and to share my journey with others because I felt like I was, um, letting down, you know, others and I didn't want to be judged.

So, segue into several reasons, I think that moms feel, um, find it hard to ask for help. There's number one, the standards we sent for ourselves. You know, we, we think we're going to be the super mom. We plan for baby. We're like, I'm going to do all the things. We're going to make my own baby food. I'm going to breastfeed till they're like, two, you know, I'm going to stay at home and we're going to create Montessori classroom. And, you know, we assign a role to our partner and then we feel like everything else under the parenting umbrella kind of falls on us. But, you know, what we don't account for are things that are unexpected. What if you realize you just are exhausted and don't have the energy to do those things. What if your baby has colic and you can't sleep and you can't, you know, be a present mindful, playful parent like you had envisioned. What if you have problems, you know, lactating, breastfeeding and it's not the journey that you thought you would have for yourself. What if you realize, don't like staying at home? Or what if you go back to work and realize, I can't be here. I want to be home with my child. Or what if you, you know, what if you get diagnosed with postpartum depression, all these things that makes us feel like we have to do the things that we originally set out to do, these standards.

Another thing that's tied into this is, you know, our need for approval and comparisons with the other moms, you know, we look at Karen down the street with four kids who seems, I quote, seems to be doing it all, you know, with a smile on her face and you only have one and you can barely manage, you know, to shower or get out of the house to do anything. We have, and we're bombarded by these unrealistic images and standards that are out there for women. And it really creates a sense of shame or mom guilt that we can do at all, that we, if we ask for help, like, what does that say about us as a mother? And then like, you know, funny thing is it's not the same for dads, is it? So if you see like a dad at the park with his kids or a piano practice or the grocery store, you're like, oh, he's such a great hands-on dad. But nobody ever says that when they say she's like a mom with their kids, you know, like, wow, she's a great mom to like, you just think, well, that's what she's supposed to be doing, right? She's taking her kid to the park going in the grocery store to such a this double standard that we have to do all the things.

Another thing that comes to mind is, you know, cultural norms and standards. So what you witness growing up in your household, how what your mom did. And then culturally, what you experience, you know, some cultures are much more focused on this is the role of the mom and the wife, and you stay at home, and you do all the cooking, you do all the cleaning. For me, my mom became like, you know, June Cleaver stayed home, you know, doing all the things and gave up her career. And that was it. We were her life. And so that really helps shape us and feel like, you know, so I struggled a lot because I always thought this is how a mom should be. They should put their life on hold for their kids. But intrinsically, I was like, no, when I'm so independent and career oriented, so I really was like had this internal struggle about, you know, I was trying to do it all, right, launch a company from home, and take care of my kids and you know, breastfeed and this and that and, you know, really resistant asking for help. And the last reason I would share, I think that mom's really struggle with asking for help is that we are worried about really like relinquishing control. I know that I was, it was very difficult. And, you know, especially like, I'm a recovering helicopter mom. So, anyone was like taking care of my kid and they were doing it. Or I didn't even trust anyone with my kid, honestly, you know, I had my mom who didn't live nearby if she would come. Obviously, it felt comfortable there. But then I had my sister-in-law, but I would only go for like two hours at a time and I couldn't even like relax or enjoy myself while I was away. So there I was trying to ask for help and doing that, but I wasn't getting like the full benefits.

Tina: Yeah, so I'm just thinking back to my days. So my first one came 28 years ago. And it was not, it was not normalized at all. There was no, I mean, you're right, all the cultural norms around what I saw my mother doing and my grandmother doing and that we are just supposed to know how to do this. And at one point, you just said something about like, you've read all the things and you know what to do. I just remember them handing me my baby in the hospital to quiet, all snuggled in and thought, oh my gosh, how did you do that? Because I've read all the books and I, you know, like everything is new. Every single thing is new. So, and Serena, we've experienced a lot with kids, not, you know, we don't deal with people who?ve just given birth, but the idea that asking for help, especially in school age, right? Because everybody else does look like they're doing it right. And you don't talk about the school age stuff as much, especially when it turns problematic, behavioral, what, behavior wise, right? So, so tell us once parents have connected with you, tell us a little bit about, you know, helping them feel less overwhelmed. What are some really tangible kind of tips you can give?

Peg: Absolutely. I'd love to. So, we're never going to, you know, fully get rid of our stress, right? Stress is always going to be around us, especially since a big part of that stress comes from child rearing and all the things that go come along with that. So, and our never ending to do lists. The only difference really is how we react to it, right? How we process it. So, a few things that I recommend for moms that are, you know, in the weeds, feeling overwhelmed.

Well, the first thing I do when I work with moms is we do something called a self-care audit and an energy audit. And we approach looking at the pieces of the pie. You know, there are six pieces of this pie and we take into account, what areas are you lacking? Because, you know, self-care kind of has gotten like a fluffy wrap. I feel like the term. And, you know, it's not really about the bubble baths. I mean, bubble baths are great. Don't get me wrong. But, you know, our self-care is going to look different at every stage of motherhood and every stage of our life. So, no, it doesn't matter how many bubble baths you take if you're not addressing the real root of your stress or your overwhelm, right? So, we do this audit. We figure out where we need help.

But, at a glance, I, you know, speaking to our never-ending to-do list as moms, which I think to-do lists are toxic and terrible. I think you should never have a to-do list. You can start with one, but that's a whole other episode. But what happens is your brain can't prioritize. It sees it as a threat. Your brain can't prioritize what's really important and what's not important. So, I recommend that moms only set three priorities for every day, maximum, and that I like to remind myself that everything else is secondary. If I get these three things done today, you know, I'm good. And, if you're in survival mode or a low season, which we all have, I only pick one thing for the day. I'm like, you know, I just went through a low season for me and over the holidays. And, I picked cooking. I was like, I'm going to cook dinner for my family today, because cooking soothes me. It's relaxing. It's like very therapeutic for me. And, I didn't hold myself to it. If I woke up that morning and felt like, I'm not good not going to hold myself to that that day. I gave myself grace. But, and not overdoing it and thinking like, we have to do all the things all the time.

Another thing that I like to share with moms that is so life changing is simply practicing gratitude every day. And, it is something you don't have to journal for two hours about it. You don't even have to journal about it. It is simply like taking a moment to reflect at the end of the day. Or, when you're, when you're in it, like, if something is calling to you, touching your heart in that moment, just being grateful about that, what that does is, and it, it's important to practice it because what, what you're going to do is retrain your brain. Our brains are, you know, have this neuroplasticity where we can rewire them. And our brains naturally look for threat and the negatives, right? So, when we are intentional about being grateful for something that happened in our day, we're telling our mind retraining it that this is, this is important. And this is what we're going to look for. So, eventually, we start to do it reflexively. And we're searching for things that make us feel good and warm. It's one of the easiest things we can do because every day is going to have stress. Things are going to come up. Things are not going to go well. And we tend to hyper focus on the things that didn't go well that day instead of be reflective about all those beautiful interactions and great things that happen that day. And, you know what, some days, you know, you chalk them up to, you know, what have you? And on those days, honestly, I had a mom tell me recently. She's like, because I asked for my mom's every week. I touch base with them. Like, what were your wins this week? What were your wins and things? And she said, I'm just glad I survived today. I'm grateful I survived and I got through this week where I got through this day and I'm proud of myself for that. So, that's so important. You know, another part is, and it's a big component of my program is conscious parenting because we just tend to want to control or manage our kids all the time. And we miss out on all the so many goodness, you know, so many of the goodies, interactions with our kids, and just trying to manage control in itself is overwhelming, especially when they don't do what we would like for them to do. So, I recommend parents really get curious about their kids, right? And learning to become a conscious parent takes time and practice is all about just asking those right questions. You know, we ask ourselves, how could I be contributing to my child's behavior, which is such a simple question to ask, but it really can be an aha moment for so many moms because kids feel, feed of our energy.

And there's so many things about having kids that bring up like a mirror and reflect our own childhood traumas and past traumas and bring that bubbling back up to the surface. And then one of my favorite ways to help reduce overwhelm for moms because this mom guilt, the struggle is so real like this. We always feel like we're failing in some area I feel like I know I do. I could do like 99 things right, and then like I forget to pack snack for my son, and I'm like, I?m the worst mom ever, oh my god, what kind of mom forget snack? So, really practicing self-compassion, I think is so so essential for moms. And I like to do this really just by using a mantra, you can create one of your own, something to the effect of, you know, I am the perfect mother for my children, and I'm doing the best that I can, and that is enough, so simple, but just allowing ourselves a grace to not be perfect. I myself am a recovering perfectionist, and it's really hard, you know, to give ourselves grace. We're often harder on ourselves than anyone around us is.

Serena: Yeah, thank you for all of that. It's yeah, I think many of us are in perfectionism recovery, maybe we can use that term.

Peg: Kids have a way of popping us out of that real fast. You can't do all this.

Serena: So, you talked about this a little bit. You started talking about self-care. You use the term radical self-care. So, we're just curious, what do you mean by that term, and why is that such an important piece for moms?

Peg: Yes, radical self-care is simply prioritizing our needs over everyone else's needs. And this is kind of like really hard concept for most moms to like grasp or accept, or like work, because, you know, we're so used to putting everyone else's needs first, and understandably, I'm not saying ignore your kids, like we're obviously going to feed them and keep them alive and safe, but it is so important to not lose who you are, because like I was talking about the energy before, our kids are not going to be able to reap the rewards of their amazing mom or parent if we're operating from this place of overwhelm. And simply just identifying what needs that you are not getting yourself and making time for that. You know, we tend to schedule everything for everyone else first, and we're like, well, if there's time left over, I might do something for myself, and I challenge you to schedule time for yourself on your calendar first, make that a priority, and then, you know, work everything in around that.

Tina: Yeah, I do remember, we moved, I don't know, a long time ago, I will say, probably 2005, I guess, and I scheduled everything for everybody else, everybody had a camp, you know, of course, my husband was going to work, because that's why we were moving, and I literally had nothing, and it really affected my mood, horribly, and I just, the permission, I think it's the permission that we need to give ourselves, whether we schedule first or second, we need to give ourselves permission to count in our family, and that's important. So let's just turn the mirror on you and say, what do you do to take good care of yourself? What's your advice, you know, for moms who don't really, you've just said, feel like they have the time for self-care? What do you do? How are you a good example, a good role model for your people?

Peg: Sure, well, I'm, you know, I'm human, and my life is messy too, just like everyone else. But, you know what I, I really try to make sure and check in with myself regularly. I always say, listen to your body, because your body never lies, and sometimes it can go down a path to burn out where you're like, oh, my body's forcing me to listen now, which is actually something that happened to me during the pandemic. I was experiencing so much decision fatigue and overwhelm that I started manifesting physically. And I was having paralysis and numbness on some, on part side of my body so bad. I thought I had MS, I was like, I went to the doctor, she like, did it all the workups on me. She's like, there's nothing wrong with you. Oh my god, this is stress, this is crazy. But, yeah, listening to your body. So I had to shift my self care. That's the point that I want to make. Checking in with yourself regularly, seeing what's going on, how is it landing in your body? I shift my self care routine, depending on that season that I'm in. If I'm struggling, I adjust my expectations, like for that time in my life, I realized I needed to up my, my self care and my connection with others. I was self isolating. I got my close friend. She's also a neighbor. We started walking every morning. We got up at like five a.m. when it was still dark before the kids woke up. And we did it without fail every morning. And I got my, outside fresh air. I didn't get my sun because it was a sun, sunlight. But I got to talk with my friend and process my emotions and, you know, it has to be the right person. You don't want someone shutting you down, obviously. But so it was a, a beautiful shift that I made in my self care in that moment. But I needed that. And, you know, when I grew out of that season, we cut it back, you know, so we might not go five days a week. We might go one day a week.

But like, right now, I love to sleep in on the weekends. And my husband allows me, it gives me the gift of doing that. That is just one way that I'm like, you know, I'm going to allow myself because I'm up doing all of things every other day. That's what I do with help feeling guilty. Right? I like to walk. I like to move my body. It really helps with my anxiety. I, you know, suffer from ongoing anxiety from time to time. So that helps me keep it balanced. And then also eating foods that nourish me and help with my energy levels. Because I know my body now, it my diet affects me and my mood a lot. A lot of women don't even maybe consider that necessarily when they start to work for me and on how all these things can like add up and affect how they're feeling with their overwhelm. And then also one thing I always am trying to do is work on a project that I'm passionate about. You know, I love my work. And I'm very passionate about it, but I really love writing. And so I'm working on a novel and I make time for that every week.

So I really feel like having goals to strive towards is important outside of motherhood. Right? We tend to so hyper focus and keep our calendars quote busy with things that aren't necessarily contributing to our well-being and our feeling fulfilled. We'll keep busy. Maybe we'll go, you know, I don't know. Fill our calendar with social activities that really aren't contributing to, you know, becoming the best version of ourselves. Maybe we surround ourselves with superficial relationships or, you know, busy work, busy things instead of really, instead of really getting to who, you know, who am I, what makes me tick what brings me joy?

And the big point I wanted to share with moms is I want you to know that self-care should not be a luxury. It's a necessity. We have to take care of ourselves and that your self-care is not going to look the same as my self-care or anyone else's. And that's okay. Just because so and so, you know, wakes up at five or has a one-hour meditation ritual that she does to keep her going. It's just might not be realistic, right? So most people think of like self-care routine. Oh, I don't have time for that. But really, honestly, depending on the season, like, especially in the early years ages, you know, zero to three. I call that, you know, the survival mode, survival years. Your self-care is going to look drastically different. Like, self-care is going to be taking naps. It's going to be showering. It's going to be getting takeout. It's going to be hiring a babysitter, right? Like that is self-care in that season. And I don't want moms to get hung up on self-care. It means I have to do something luxurious or fancy for myself. It's really not. And then, you know, later in life, it can, you know, self-care is just picking up a hobby that you find joy. And the most important takeaway is that really start small. You're carving out a small amount of time for yourself. You don't have to carve out hours at a time or give up or sacrifice, you know, other things like time with your family. So, yeah, just to center yourself, even if it's literally going to bed, turning off Netflix or going to bed 15 minutes early, and, you know, have a little cup of chamomile tea and read, like, a chapter in your favorite book. Like, reading is something that brings me a lot of joy. I love it. And, you know, something like that can really go a long way or doing it in the morning with your cup of coffee, you know, before the kids get up.

Serena: So, yeah, that's great. Great suggestion. I love the idea of starting small, so it doesn't feel, doesn't feel overwhelming. Yeah, so you have some resources for moms that we're aware of. You have a resilient mom academy as well as what you call calm mom resources. So, I want you to share with our listeners about these resources and how they can connect with you.

Peg: Absolutely. Yes, so my flagship, my main program where I work with moms is the Resilient Mom Academy, and it is a virtual hybrid education platform and coaching membership. So, it's like a monthly fee and a program and it has like a core course that it takes you through. And then there's live coaching every week with me and a sense of community with the other moms. So, that's my baby that I birth, pun intended, after through my experience. And I also have, so you can get access to, you can read more about it on my website. I'm at You can find more information about that and how to work with me there. I also have a beautiful brand new free resource for your listeners. It's called the Resilient Mom Starter Kit. And it is a seven day video training filled with tools for moms that are ready to, you know, step forward and create that calm and intentional life that they're wanting to get back to for themselves. Because we tend to veer off course. So, if you're feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed in motherhood right now, you will love this free resource. And it's a just micro training. So, they're really easily digestible and they come straight to your inbox. And you can access that as well on my website, also share link with you ladies. It is forward slash links. And then you can also find me on instagram. My favorite place to hang out as my handle is at peg.sadie.

Tina: Yes, awesome. So, before we let you go, is there anything else you'd like to put out to the world?

Peg: Oh, gosh. I guess the biggest thing I always love to share with moms is that you're not alone. You're not alone in your journey. I feel like so many moms that I talk to are always like, is this normal? Is it okay to feel this way? And that you're allowed to feel however you want to feel during this season, right? It's just important to take care of ourselves. And my goal, like I said, my mission is to reshape our legacy. So, we don't pass on our overwhelm and our stress down to generationally. You know, so many of us, I feel like absorbed us from our parents and to be more self-aware. So, that's all.

Tina: Excellent advice. So, we thank you so much for joining us today. And for all the support that you provide to moms everywhere.

Peg: Oh, thank you so much, Tina. Thank you so much, Serena. It's been my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me on. And thank you for what you ladies do. Your podcast is an amazing resources for moms. So, thank you.

Serena: Thank you. And so, podcast friends, we are as always grateful for all of you listening and supporting us. You can help us out by visiting Apple Podcast. And when you're there, you can leave us a review, subscribe, and please share our podcast with others. You'll find more content on our website, Also, you can connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And you'll find all those links on our website. Or call and leave us a voice message. And that number will be in our notes. You can share a bit of your story. Tell us what you think of the podcast, share ideas, or just call to say hi.

Tina: We would love to hear from you. And this is your gentle reminder to take good care of yourself while you're also taking care of your people.

Serena: Thanks for listening.

Tina: Bye.