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Wednesday
Jan202010

Intersecting Needs: Maslow, interdependence, parenting, caregiving, relationships

We all have needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides an excellent framework to describe the relative importance of different needs. I like Meagan Francis (The Happiest Mom)'s Mother's Hierarchy of Needs and I enjoyed putting together my Child's Hierarchy of Needs. The problem though, with each of them, is that they focus on one person's needs. They do not look explicitly at how that person's needs intersect with the needs of others. Almost all of us will take on a caregiving role at some point in our lives, whether we are caring for our children, our parents, our spouse or another friend or family member. We will all be involved in relationships with others that require us to sometimes consider the needs of others before our own.

"No (wo)man is an island"


The phrase "no (wo)man is an island" is based on the concept that human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. This is true. But it could also equally be held to mean that human beings cannot selfishly pursue their own needs all of the time. They need to help others meet their needs too, whether that is by directly helping them (e.g. feeding an infant) or providing them with the space to do so (e.g. giving a tired mom time and space to have a bath).

So where does this leave a frazzled, exhausted mother with a screaming, tired and hungry baby?

In short - she needs help.  Children in general, and babies in particular, are very dependent on adults to meet their basic needs. Parents are the are the ones who are primarily responsible for meeting the child's needs and that can sometimes get in the way of parents meeting their own needs. The more a parent feels pressure to meet all of those needs on their own, without the support of a partner or other friends and family, the more danger they are in of neglecting their own needs or neglecting those of their child. The need for help goes beyond raising a child. It also extends to caregiving of older relatives or family members with disabilities.

They say it takes a village, and it is true. While we can all get through difficult parenting moments alone and put our needs aside in order to meet the needs of our children, doing it all the time isn't healthy. Our children need to have their needs met. We need to have our needs met. But before neglecting our children's needs or our own needs, we need to ask for help. In an ideal situation, we develop support systems before they are needed. We build our village ahead of time.

But that is easier said than done. When I wrote my post about building a village, I got a lot of great feedback and positive comments, but I also received negative feedback. The post, which was also posted on the Attachment Parenting International blog - API Speaks, received the following comment:

I have a hard time having someone telling me to work at creating a village, when that person has grandmother at arms reach to help out. It is very difficult to depend on friends constantly and financing hired help isn’t an option for some families.


Another commenter on my blog wrote:

I am an AP mom and happen to be single with no family support. I am exhausted but I cannot imagine doing this any other way. It bothers me a lot that no one in my family cares enough to come over or help care for my daughter. She is almost a year now and does not know anyone in the family because she rarely sees any of them. She has never had a baby sitter and I never get a full night’s sleep. My house is never anywhere near clean and my daughter craves attention from others. Having no family is lonely and I feel guilty that she will grow up not having bigfamily gatherings or regular stopins from people who love her.


We are very lucky that my parents are not far away and that my mom helps out. But if they weren't close by, we would not have been able to give our children what they need while also meeting our needs without developing relationships with other people who could help us with the kids. I'm a strong believer in attachment parenting, but also in balance. When that balance isn't there, we are gambling with our own mental stability.

Jennifer Van Laanen, formerly known as Mango Mama, was a big natural parenting and attachment parenting advocate when her children were young. But she was doing it all alone, married to a man who had no interest in his children and spent very little time at home. Reflecting on the situation she found herself in, she wrote The Perfect Mother:

I poured all of me into my children from day one. I went all out to be super-mom… home birthed, breast feeding, no babysitters, sling carrying, home schooling, wooden toys, home-cooked organic meals, arts and crafts, no TV… the whole continuum concept-attachment parenting- granola thing. My children were my best friends and I devoted myself to them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week… for nine years.

I'm the one who put up the Christmas tree, decorated (and undecorated) the house for all the holidays, bought the gifts, handmade cards, sat up with the children scared with worry with their croup and high fevers, made sandwiches when I was deathly ill, read the same book over and over again, hooked them up to the machine when asthma attacks hit, changed and washed cloth diapers, kneaded bread dough, sped to the ER, helped make forts, sang songs and danced silly, taught them how to read, washed hair, cleaned up vomit and diarrhea, felt my heart drop as they survived crazy death- defying acts, etc., etc. That was me, I did it. I smiled when I wanted to cry, I laughed and acted silly when I felt like screaming and breaking things, I gave hugs and was understanding when I wanted to hide myself away. I listened, I kissed it all better, I explained, I gave information, I cleaned it all up, I said it was ok, I mediated the sibling fights, I sent them to their rooms, and I let them have fun… you know… roller blade in the kitchen, bake by themselves, turn the living room into a giant obstacle course with traps, supervised fire experimenting, put tattoos on their faces and necks… I also worked from home to contribute financially… I ran a pre-school, built web-sites, sold shit on E-bay, wrote and self- published books. I did it, I did it all and sometimes I got it right.

I was sad and lonely, I was bitter and resentful, I was empty. I was good at pretending I was ok.

It was my decision to devote myself so thoroughly to my children. In retrospect I can see how that contributed to my breakdown and to the damage of my marriage. I never once complained or asked for help. After nine years of being self-less and super responsible, I found that I needed to nurture and feed, pour more back into me. I was an empty shell and I needed some life other than being mom.


Jennifer's is an extreme case. One that resulted in her having a nervous breakdown and running away to spend two years in the jungle while her previously uninvolved spouse had to step up and care for the kids. This isn't likely to happen to the average mother who doesn't have enough support all of the time. But it is an important warning that trying to do everything and be everything to your children all on your own, while neglecting your own needs, will end badly. As mothers, parents, caregivers, we all give; but we all have needs too.

I think that parents need to plan for me-time. Time where they are not responsible for watching over their kids. Time where they can take a break from constant caregiving. In response to my question about needs, Schussel from Schussel Plappert wrote:

I’m there. I have to be and I want to be there, it is my choice to fulfill his needs in exactly this way, to not let him wait and not let him cry at night and feed him on demand – but I really miss deciding *only* for *myself* what I want to do. I try to take time off, to have a coffee without feeling under pressure – but it’s not easy.


It isn't easy. There are only so many hours in the day and it is often difficult finding others to help. But we need to find a way. We need to communicate our limits to others. We need to do this, even when it is hard:

I just did something really hard. I communicated my limits and asked for help. Ugh.

 

Respecting the hierarchy


Not all needs are equal. That is the key point behind Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Our basic needs have to be met before we start worrying about more advanced needs. If we take Meagan's Mother's Hierarchy of Needs and my Child's Hierarchy of Needs and put them together, you can start to compare the relative importance of different needs.


My hypothesis would be that it is more important for me, as a parent, to meet my child's physiological and safety and security needs, than it is to meet my esteem and self actualization needs. It is also more important for me to meet my physiological and safety and security needs than it is to meet my child's esteem or self-actualization needs. Or, another way to look at it, is that I am unlikely to be able to provide the support and energy required to fulfill my child's esteem and self-actualization needs if I am hungry, exhausted and insecure.

So, in general, I assume that my child's figure skating lessons are not as important as me finding time to have a bite to eat. I also assume that my desire to watch a movie uninterrupted is not more important than responding to my child's cries.  I may feel a very strong desire to fill my self-actualization needs because my other needs are generally met, but meeting those needs should not come at the expense of my child's basic needs. That means that I either need to pursue self-actualization at a time when my child doesn't need me (e.g. doing online courses while a child is sleeping) or I need to call on my village, a village that my children trusts, to help meet my children's needs while I pursue my goals.

The challenge comes in when both the caregiver and the child have basic needs that are unmet. If the mother is not financially stable, it will be difficult for her to provide healthy food and shelter to her children. She may end up in a relationship with someone who can pay the bills, but who is abusive towards her or her children. When basic needs are unmet, parents can be plunged into a crisis. In my post where I asked my readers for input on their own needs and their children's needs, Cassaundra wrote:

I see that the most significant need for both Mothers and children that is currently unmet for so many in Canada is not listed here. This is probably because your blog has a skewed demographic that includes primarily higher income and married Moms. However, we are currently in the middle of a MASSIVE housing crisis in Canada that is hitting women, particularly women with children, the hardest of all. Approximately 60 to 70% of single moms are paying more than half of their income just on rent, for housing that is too small, too wasteful of the energy that they also pay for and often in bad repair. Women are being forced to remain, with their children, in abusive relationships because the consequences of leaving those relationships is to be homeless. Women are having their children taken away from them simply because they cannot afford decent housing. The situation is bad enough that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Housing Milloon Kothari who visited Canada to observe has called our Housing crisis an International Disgrace.


This is one very important example. But there are others too. For example, exhausted mothers may not have the patience or stamina required to feed their children. Mothers with little experience and education may have trouble keeping their family above the poverty line.  To be good caregivers, we need to have our basic needs met too. This isn't always easy.

Mother (or father) knows best?


I feel lucky to be able to provide the first three levels of the Child's Hierarchy of Needs fairly easily. The physiological, safety and security and social needs are pretty much taken care of by me, by my partner, by our village. The most difficult level, for me, is esteem. Fortunately or unfortunately, sometimes I have to bow to the hierarchy and do things that may not be ideal from an esteem perspective, in order to ensure that everyone's physiological needs continue to be met.

For example, Emma doesn't like to eat dinner a lot of the time. I think I understand why. She is often getting tired. Julian and I have often just arrived home and she is happy to see us. She would rather get up, visit us, move around, play, etc. There are a number of options available to us. I could get my partner to feed her before we get home. But that adds another task to his already busy day and it also takes away from our goal of eating dinner as a family. We could tell her she doesn't have to eat, but then I am the one dealing with her when she wakes up constantly at night and wants to nurse.  Sure, I could put my foot down and tell her she can't nurse at night, but saying no means staying awake with an upset child. No matter how I look at it, if we don't ensure that she eats dinner (and meets her physiological needs at the time that is convenient for us), then my physiological needs are compromised. As much as I believe it is her body and she should choose how much to eat at dinner, if I have to respond to her at night, I may use parenting tactics I don't love at the dinner table. I hate feeding her when she can feed herself, letting her eat while walking around, making a special meal, threatening no dessert/no nursing at bedtime, etc., but to me it is the lesser of two evils. It is better than being so exhausted that I cannot function or resorting to ignoring her cries at night.

I want to teach my children to be in tune with their own needs and their own bodies and to make good decisions to ensure that their needs get met. That is a critical element of the learning life skills element of the hierarchy of needs. But it is hard. It is an investment. It is the toughest part of the hierarchy of needs for me.

Not a martyr, not a monster


Finding the right balance between your needs and the needs of your children, your spouse and other important people in your life is not always easy. I don't think anyone gets it right all of the time. I know I don't. But my general philosophy is that I am not going to be a martyr. I am going to take care of my own needs. But I'm also not going to be a monster, meaning I'm not going to neglect my children's needs in order to meet my own or see my child's needs as being in complete opposition to my own. It takes creativity, it requires support from the village, it requires understanding that balance is something to be achieved over time and not every day.

In her post today on leisure time,  Meagan Francis from the Happiest Mom wrote [emphasis mine]:

This is life: we’re living it right now, and we don’t get a do-over. But neither is it set in stone – it’s a series of small choices we make and priorities we pursue, and we always have the power to shift it in a new direction. It’s OK to ignore the kids for a while and flop down on the sofa with a magazine. It’s OK to hire help. It’s OK to ask more of your spouse or partner. It’s OK to say no to an expensive and time-consuming after-school activity, or to teach your kids to be more self-sufficient so you can do less. It’s also OK to just say, my life is crazy-busy right now and there’s not much I can do about it, so I’m going to find enjoyment where I can…even if I’m not getting my full 30 hours of approved leisure time this week. We can also move toward seeing our kids as more than a job, more than an obligation, and think of them as a big part of our leisure time. I know that’s not easy in today’s high-pressure, high-stakes parenting culture, but I think it’s healthier all around.


The part I bolded is critical. Most of us chose to have children and while we may not revel in every feeding, every play session, or every outing with our kids, they do go a long way towards meeting our needs too. As Sean from Sex and Spirituality wrote in response to my post on needs:

I think the point is that the baby really has needs, whereas most of what we have less time for are not needs, but only desires. The timeframe over which they operate is also different: often immediate in the case of the child and much longer term in our case. This should be got in perspective. Also, if I were to reclassify some of my desires as needs, then my children go a long way to meeting a number of them. Therefore there is not some unholy trade-off here between their needs and ours, just a change in the rhythm and patterns of life. For us it is perfectly manageable but of course it helps to be two, to have a relatively mature relationship, to have sufficient funds to afford babysitting and domestic assistance… There is perhaps a healthy balance to be found but I don’t think anyone’s “needs” are neglected in the process, neither theirs nor ours.


Rather than thinking about the Child's Hierarchy of Needs and the Mother’s Hierarchy of Needs as being in opposition to each other, I'd rather look at how they can meld, how we can meet our needs together, and how I can create a village for the times I do need an out.

http://www.citizenofthemonth.com/2010/01/06/its-the-real-thing/
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Reader Comments (24)

When I worked on the Mother's Hierarchy of Needs I was careful to define needs that can be met (mostly) without neglecting the child's needs, which I do agree mostly take priority. And when babies are really little, I really tend to think of mom and infant as a duo with needs that are constantly intersecting. As the baby gets older, the needs of each start to become more distinct and I think that's where a lot of moms can use help. Especially because I see too many moms falling into one extreme camp or another, i.e. "give EVERYTHING up for your child" or "give NOTHING up for your child". It doesn't have to be that way.

I like your focus on a "village" because as you point out, so many of a child's needs can be met by somebody other than Mom, more and more the older they get.

And, holy cow--I had no idea that Jennifer Van Laanen was still online! I am going to go check out her blog. I spent much of my early motherhood obsessed with her Mango Mama site (which I consider an early form of blogging) and was shocked when she had her very public breakdown. It became a cautionary tale for me, and others, not to become a martyr or to try to do everything perfectly all by yourself.

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMeagan Francis

I tried to comment on facebook, partially in reply to other commenters there, but apparently my comment was too long...

I feel I have intensely "attachment parented" my kids and been intensely involved in LLL. I have also gone to school and worked and divorced and repartnered amidst the daily struggle of balancing needs. My marriage did not break up because I was intensely attachment parenting; my marriage broke up because it was shitty and we didn't know who we were as people when we married.
Perhaps the experience of having kids and parenting them intensely changed who I was, or maybe it helped me figure out who I am.

The quote "We can also move toward seeing our kids as more than a job, more than an obligation, and think of them as a big part of our leisure time." is powerful. Meeting my kids' needs is part of meeting my needs' because I chose to have kids and I choose to make my life family centred. I also personally find parenting to be a big part of my "self-actualization."

Sometimes my village is stronger than other times and family interest in helping ebbs and flows.

I have been exhausted and lonely and frustrated, but I am happy with my parenting choices I made when my two older kids were wee. I am happy I parented babies to sleep and woke with a baby or toddler to nurse for years (although I was grumpy at times) in order to have a teens who has good sleep habits and is as secure and happy as I can expect teens to be. I spend less time intensely parenting the teen at night (and in general) than some parents who worked to minimize nighttime parenting with their infants and young children. That could just be luck, but I think it's because our relationships are strong.
I think part of attachment parenting and meeting the intense needs of infants and young children is helping build self-sufficiency and mutual respect. So far so good.

I also understand when my patience wears thin with the intense needs of my current baby that soon she will be grown up and then I can fulfill my desires to go out for a drink or have a hot bath without my ears perked.

I work really hard on self-awareness and I have had good therapy from someone who understood attachment parenting. I know I can have a healthy (if imperfect) marriage with the right partner and parent the way I think is appropriate and important.

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterradmama

I needed to read this so much this morning. THANK YOU. I am a first time mom of a wonderful 10 month old girl. I am AP'ing but with balance (as you said). Yesterday both my husband and I came down with a mild stomach bug. I decided to send my daughter over to her grandparents (my parents) who ADORE her and where she has a lot of fun so that she wouldn't get the bug and so that hubby and I could get a decent night's sleep and get rid of this bug.
Even so, I felt guilty. Guilty for putting my physiological needs (sleep, illness) above my daughter, guilty for having her away from me for a day and night, guilty that she'd wake up at the grandparents and wonder why I'd "abandoned her".
Reading this helped me quell those destructive thoughts. I can not be a good mom to my little girl when I feel like a truck ran me over and I am in the bathroom very few minutes. My girl adores her grandma and grandpa and always has fun over there. My parents grandparent her in the AP way hubby and I desire. Having my daughter spend the night with them was A GOOD CHOICE.
I am a good mom.
I do not have to listen to the lies of "be everything to everyone all the time".
Thank you!

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

[...] reasons why I read PhD in Parenting, and posts like this are one of them.And it’s funny, because unintentionally, this is my major argument for [...]

January 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpack. « Love | Peace | O

[...] This is so true. It’s really hard sometimes to balance Sadie’s physical needs, which she cannot yet meet herself, with my more advanced needs, which are easy to ignore until they pile up and I’m ready to explode. [...]

[...] my blog roll and getting caught up with everyone, before my internet goes down. I was reading PhD in Parenting, she again got to me. I first teared up then because everyone was sleeping I let a few out. She [...]

About the dinnertime problems.

Its pretty common that toddlers do not eat much in the evening and eat a tonne in the morning -even the ones that "sleep through the night". IMHO its more likely she wakes a lot at night because she just plain misses you as you are gone during the day.

However, there is a mom named Sandi Richard who is a mom of 7 kids, she's written a few books and has a show on food network. And I think one of her solutions would work well for your situation. What she does is has meal plans where there is something from the main meal that is made "first" for the kids who are too hungry to wait for dinner. Say if you were planning to have spaghetti and salad for dinner. Dad would put together the salad first and give it to your daughter while the two adults would have it later with the meal. This is also really helpful for the cooking process as it keeps the kids busy. There are more creative examples as well. So your daughter still gets the exact same meal, but she just gets it in two parts and if she doesn't eat the second part its not a big deal. The "ahead" part of the meal could even be served in the car -most of her meal plans involve a fair amount of the work of making dinner to be done the night before (for working families) or after lunch (for SAHMs) or whatever works. I really wish I could figure out the name of the episode because it worked really well and her ideas were way more creative than my salad idea.

January 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermystic_eye_cda

Thanks for quoting me and linking to my blog, wow, I feel so honored!

I also feel that my kids are a major part of my self-actualization. Not in the obsessive sense of self-substitution practised by my own mother, but as true equals in an interconnected, self-renewing, healing, astonishing adventure of love, compassion and understanding. It is a spiritual dimension constantly within reach, and if I were to look over it, I feel I would really be missing everything essential. I wrote about it here: http://aruhea.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/the-tao-of-parenting/

I have never been a big fan of Maslow though: it always seemed to me that his pyramid states the sort-of-obvious while still missing something fundamental. It would seem to give the impression that spirituality is a luxury for materially well-off societies. But I think spirituality is as essential, just in a different way. Of course you can say, indeed with some justification, that spirituality in practice has an ambiguous relationship to self-actualization. But I think that the instinct of self-transcendence which defines mankind as a social and spiritual creature is for us at least very nearly as basic as the instinct of self-preservation which we share with all other forms of life. A child, even more than an adult, needs love, understanding, recognition and self-expression as much as it needs food and protection. It needs them for different but equally essential purposes in order to grow as a human being.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean

[...] Parents have needs. Children have needs. They are not independent at all. In my next post, I will look at how our needs intersect and what interesting challenges and dynamics that .... [...]

January 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChild’s Hierarchy of Nee

[...] Parents have needs. Children have needs. They are not independent at all. None of us is an island and the interdependence and intersecting of our needs create interesting challenges and dynamics. Read more about how to take care of your own needs while taking care of your child’s. [...]

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChild’s Hierarchy of Nee

Annie, your topic comes at a good time for me to hear it. I spent time this weekend wondering how I will manage homeschooling while working from home; and often consider how to be attentive to the needs of my girls and still be true to myself in terms of what I feel I want to offer the larger community of birthing women.

I really enjoy spending time with the kids, to the point where I occasionally wonder why I have a business b/c I'd like to spend every moment with them. And then I read your blog, and remember that one of the reasons I enjoy being a mom is because I am able to spend time dedicated to my own pursuits now that they are getting bigger. (My little one said yesterday for the first time, "I'm not a baby!" **blinking back tears**)

I realize I am teaching my girls how to care for themselves when I care for myself and love and care for them at the same time. It is a balance, & sometimes I'm not in balance- but I enjoy the attempts.
Thanks for being right on time with your reminder.

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren @ Intentional Birth

I'm finding having pre-teen and teen needs to balance with my own much harder than balancing toddler needs. They need more of me mentally and emotionally than they did as toddlers. I find it easier to "self-actualize" while physically holding, nursing and guiding a baby than being when my big kids need me to be wholly present. I'm tempted to drop some of the things I'm doing to be with them more and provide a shelter from the storm of adolescence. Otoh, work, hobbies, courses I do (juggled around toddler care) are part of me modeling healthy, happy, busy adulthood for them. It's a tough puzzle.

February 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterradmama

This is similar to the method I employ to keep my daughter from getting over-hungry and then becoming unwilling to eat dinner altogether. I give her an "appetizer" that she finds attractive, such as celery and ranch dip. She considers dipping celery a fun activity, and it keeps her from "starving" while I'm cooking as well as putting her in the mood for eating. Its not a flawless plan, but it seems to be the best I've found.

February 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

[...] Intersecting Needs: Maslow, interdependence, parenting, caregiving, relationships, PhDinParenting writes about the intersections between a child’s needs and a mother’s [...]

[...] This is so true. It’s really hard sometimes to balance Sadie’s physical needs, which she cannot yet meet herself, with my more advanced needs, which are easy to ignore until they pile up and I’m ready to explode. [...]

[...] and children have different needs, sometimes they intersect, sometimes they [...]

February 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDisco Knitter » Blog Arc

There is a psychological theory that states that our basic need as humans is not for survival but for connection. I think Sean's comment is particularly salient to this theory, as he talks about humans being fundamentally social and spiritual creatures. Spirituality and existing in a social context is all about connecting. It would be interesting to look again at the needs of mothers and children given this as the basic need of both.

I have some very practical suggestions for parents who don't have much of a village and don't have much money. There may be someone in your neighbourhood, a teen or a retired person, who would like to be involved in your life for not very much if any reimbursement. It's worth looking into if there is a thirteen year old who might like to hold your baby for half an hour after school, and maybe she would like to make a bit of money or maybe he would like some help with homework. Exchanges don't always have to be monetary. Or maybe there is a retired person whose grandkids live far away, or who doesn't have any, and would like to help you out with looking after your kids for a bit, just because they like being around kids. Knock on a few doors, and see what happens. Sometimes the village is closer than we think.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAsheya

[...] Van Laanen, whom I wrote about in my post on intersecting needs and interdependence, was a big natural parenting and attachment parenting advocate when her children were young. She [...]

[...] my own needs without having to neglect the needs of my children at the same time. I believe that the needs of a parent and child intersect and that that creates interesting challenges and [...]

[...] it’s part of the foundation that all other elements of self-discipline build upon. In Maslow’s pyramid of self-actualization, physical health falls into the wide “physiological health and safety” category at the base of [...]

[...] written about at length in other posts. Check out the Child’s Hierarchy of Needs and Intersecting Needs: Maslow, interdependence, parenting, caregiving, relationships, two posts that were inspired by Meagan Francis’ Mother’s Hierarchy of [...]

[...] by phdinparenting on March 21, 2011 · 10 comments var addthis_product = 'wpp-262'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true,"data_ga_property":"UA-7095988-1","data_ga_social":true,"data_track_addressbar":true,"ui_language":"en","ui_508_compliant":true};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = {"templates":{"twitter":"'check out {{title}}{{url}} (via @phdinparenting)'"}};} When Julian was little and I started spending time on attachment parenting forums, everyone was raving about Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block. An anti-thesis to many of the baby trainers and baby schedulers, this book offered suggestions for creating a “fourth-trimester” like environment to help ease your baby’s transition into the world.  There are mantras out there that a happy baby makes a happy mom and others that a happy mom makes a happy baby. In reality, I don’t think that one makes the other. I believe that we (babies and moms) each have unique needs, but that those needs also intersect in amazing and sometimes frustrating ways. [...]

[...] with our toddlers is complicated. Just as our relationship with any human being that we are in a loving and interdependent relationship with, is [...]

[...] We can create a better, happier, more just existence for everyone by nurturing the common good and respecting our interdependence, instead of always focusing on moving up one rung in the existing hierarchical power [...]

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