Database Name: dbwzecoixet92g New Mamma’s Podcast – A Dad’s Path

Transcript: #37 – What are new moms thinking?

 


Lina Forrestal is a toddler mom, works full-time, and hosts the popular New Mamma’s Podcast. The ideas and suggestions she gives for dads on this one are tremendous. Dads with kids of all ages can learn from this one!

Highlights include:

  • What are new moms desperate to hear from new dads?

  • What new moms wish dads could do better?

  • How to get back in synch with your partner after becoming a parent?

  • And finally: What frustrates new moms about new dads?

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Stitcher, or on your favorite podcast platform. Like this episode? Check out more of our Dad Podcasts.


Will Braunstein:

We are here today with Lina Forrestal, Lina hosts The New Mama’s Podcast. Lina. Welcome.

Lina Forrestal:

Thank you. I’m so excited.

Will Braunstein:

Awesome. We’re excited too.

To start, I’d love to dive right in. Tell us why you decided to start your podcast and then I’d love to hear about a topic that just resonates with your moms. What’s one where you write about it or you talk about it and they just say, “Ah, yes. That’s me, too. Tell me more,” because I think that’s going to be interesting from a dad’s perspective.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah, sure. I started The New Mama’s Podcast because when I was crying in the bathtub, about six weeks postpartum, I felt broken inside and outside. I remember feeling desperate, wanting to hear other moms stories and just to feel like, am I alone in this? Is what I’m feeling normal? Am I just not built for motherhood? Am I not meant to be a mom? I remember crying tears down my face, scanning through the Spotify, in Apple, typing in things like, new mom, mom stories. And for some reason I feel like I just couldn’t find anything that I was looking for. I found a lot of podcasts from doctors and therapists and relationship coaches, but that’s not what I wanted. I really wanted to hear the real real from another mom, just like me, about what her experience was like postpartum.

So I thought I should start a podcast, which sounds ludicrous when I just had a baby and six weeks was also, that was my maternity leave, so I was going back to work full time. But somehow I feel like motherhood also birthed this creativity in me as well, that I just found a new passion and drive to get it done and I worked on my podcast every day, for just the hour that I had in me to work on it, so I built it slowly and I launched in January of 2021. So still very much pandemic, but more about me. I’m a toddler mom. My son is turning two next month and I live with my husband in New Jersey.

Will Braunstein:

That’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing your openness there and wanting to connect and see if there are other people, sharing that is inspiring. I think from a dad’s perspective, it’s hard sometimes to understand all that a mom just went through, the experience of giving birth, both physically, like you’re saying, and mentally and there’s a new normalcy. You have a partner. You maybe get married, maybe don’t, before you have kids. And in retrospect that time’s super carefree, right? You can do whatever you want and your partner gets pregnant and that can be another great, beautiful time. There’s time of change and then a lot of dads and moms, I’m guessing too, experience some anxiety as it comes near. And then boom, not literally, but baby. And there you have it.

It’s a new normalcy kind of from everyone’s perspective, because there’s a kid there and this is all obvious, but then what’s less obvious at least, or that needs to be proactively dealt with, I would say, is your partnership, your relationship, because you’re focused on this child. You just articulated a lot of different things that moms are feeling. Dads go through a lot too. We’re feeling different things. I’m not trying to compare it, but when you’re talking about a relationship as a whole, there’s again a new normalcy. For the first little bit, I think a lot of it is you’re struggling to keep your head above water and all right, we’ve got this little kid we got to keep alive. And once that changes though, how do you find that balance? How do you start either rebuilding or get that relationship back with your partner and talk about it being a new normal? Do you just kind of see where it goes? What are some of your thoughts on that, Lina?

Lina Forrestal:

I think you bring up a good point. You know, when you said that dads go through a lot too, I don’t think that’s something that society talks enough about. We don’t talk about dads as much as we should, at least not in the ways that we should. So going back on the communication aspect, let’s say that you and your partner met when you were 26 years old, in the thick of your twenties, and that’s how you communicate. You communicate as a 26 year old.

Now life goes by. You and I just shared what we went through sort of before parenthood, where we lived and we were discussing how it feels, like we lived 10 different lives. And that’s, I think true for a lot of couples. You’ve probably lived together a few different lives and versions of who you were, but our communication styles never grow from the time we’re 26 years old. So all of a sudden, I’m 33. My husband’s 33. We have a newborn and we’re still communicating like we’re 26 years old, which is probably a very immature and ineffective way to communicate. I feel like that’s the first challenge and things that not a lot of people really talk about.

I think the first step is just having that awkward conversation because it can be awkward, especially if you’re not the type of couple to really talk about feelings all the time. I know that my husband and I aren’t always talking about our feelings, so it’s just being curious about each other. I think sometimes when you’re in a relationship for a long time, you lose that curiosity because you know exactly how your partner reacts and what they like and what they don’t like. So losing that curiosity is dangerous in the baby phase, the newborn phase, because both of you have just become completely new people, whether you like it or not. Like becoming a father, becoming a mother, that’s a whole different role. You’re stepping into a whole new role, as if you’re taking a job, literally starting a new job, and you have a new role. So it’s just being curious.

Will Braunstein:

No, that’s right on. I mean, to understand the relationship with your partner, to understand your partner, you have to understand yourself. Like what you just said, you’re different. We’re different people now and I think that’s an area as well that dads need to focus on that. A lot of us do or try to, which is saying, “Hey, things I did when I was 20. I no longer do. There’s different seasons and this is not the season for going out all night. This is not the season for maybe a two week trip to the Bahamas with no kids.” So understanding that I think those are examples, but mentally gets you in sort of a different space. Hey, this is where I am now and as that, I’m no longer this frat guy who graduated da, da, da. I’m a dad now and you have to kind of build that identity in your head and say, this is who I am and then that’s kind of an interesting place to start.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah. I think a lot of people go through a bit of an identity crisis when they do become parents. For example, my husband, he’s a musician. He plays a lot of metal and he was hanging out with his buddies in the studio. He has a little studio and he pulled up his Spotify playlist and it was all these death metals bands and then Blippi.

I’m sure a lot of your listeners know who Blippi is. He sings a lot about trucks and tractors. Our little boy is obsessed with anything with wheels and they had a good laugh about it and I think that was just interesting. It’s like that two worlds colliding of who you were, but who you are now. I think a lot of people go through that. But you said, maybe now’s not the season for a two week trip to the Bahamas but I think it’s important for everybody to remember that this is all temporary. Our kids are young once. They will grow up and you will be able to do those things again, if that’s what you still like to do. You might find that your interests and hobbies change when your kids get older. But I really hate it when people kind of make it sound finite of like, once you have kids, it’s all over, because it’s not all over. It’s just temporarily your life might change a little bit.

Will Braunstein:

Yeah. We’re totally in agreement there. I mean, one thing that is important to me personally is balance. So yes, I’m a dad and no, I’m not going to go on a two week vacation just with my wife but we might go on a weekend trip because I think that’s investing in our relationship and saying, hey, this makes us stronger which will make us stronger as a family. Again, it’s personal, but I do think that balance is helpful. I have other friends, or things like that, who are just totally kid-focused and if that works for them great, but I think you need to find what works for you. You being your family, yourself, your relationship, so you can live the life you want to be living.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah. You bring up a good point. Everybody parents differently and everybody’s relationships when it comes to their kids look differently too and it’s important not to compare yourself. I don’t know if men do this as much, but I feel like women do this a lot of like, what are other husbands doing? And are they going on family trips together? Or are they going on dates, hiring a sitter? And the comparison game really is just a path down, not happiness. And just knowing that your relationship is unique and you’re a team first and foremost, and that what other people are doing does not matter because everybody’s life literally looks so different. Everything from house structure to financials, to the cars they drive, to their access to childcare or not. So, that’s why it’s just important not to compare yourself to another relationship.

Will Braunstein:

Yeah. That is so key. Just on the financial side, you don’t know what someone’s bank account looks like. You don’t know what their priorities look like, more importantly. You have friends who are trying to retire early, so who just say [inaudible 00:09:39] live that life and that’s great for them, but finding what works for you and your family is I think key and being proactive with all this.

Don’t let life, don’t let time go by, but say, “Okay, this would make a nice year.” You know, I did this trip, if I did this X, Y, or Z, these are things I want to be doing more of together. And as you said, your husband plays metal, which is awesome and he has a studio and it sounds like that’s a job, maybe a passion as well. That’s a good way I think, to invest in himself and in you guys. In terms of your relationship, how do you make time for each other there? Does someone lead that? Is that something you’re still working on?

Lina Forrestal:

Oh man, that is a work in progress, Will. I feel like we’ve been on survival mode for, I think 18 months, honestly. I just feel like between when we had my son, it was during the pandemic and we were both working full time. I feel like when we were both on survival mode, that everything is very task oriented. It’s the, did you do the dogs? Who’s putting away the chickens? Laundry needs to get done. Food needs to be made. It’s very checklist oriented.

So in terms of keeping up communication and investing in each other, that’s still a work in progress. We find that we like to spend time together in the evenings, after our son has gone to bed, if we both don’t have work to do, because we both have side passions and side hustles like this podcast, for example, like my podcast. When we’re not working, we like to watch a show together or play video games together, so we do have a little bit of our old selves in the stuff that we like to do.

But honestly it’s navigating kind of who are the new us? We actually, we went out to lunch for Valentine’s Day. My mother-in-law watched my son and it was the first time that my husband and I had gone out to lunch since my son was born. So it was just us two and we just sort of stared at each other and we didn’t know what to say. It was so awkward and I actually kind of couldn’t believe it, that we would actually be in this position to have, not that we didn’t have anything to talk about. If you were not talking about the baby, what do we talk about?

Lina Forrestal:

So, that was a little bit of an awakening of, I think we need to do some work to reconnect. What we started to do is to ask each other questions every day, like what was cool about work today? We’re not very like touchy, feely talk about our emotions, which it’s just the way we are, so we ask each other questions, like how is work today? What’s cool? And maybe that’s just work we need to do. Maybe we do need to get more in touch with our emotions together.

Will Braunstein:

I don’t know. Every couple is different. Every relationship is different.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah.

Will Braunstein:

That is always a challenge. I mean, like we keep saying the new normalcy in a lot of ways, but it’s like, okay, there’s a new normalcy that doesn’t feel normal. Like if this felt normal, then we’d be having a normal conversation. But yeah, I mean, it makes sense because our brains are different, right? Because instead of focusing on again, the carefree lifestyle, we didn’t maybe realize we had before kids, when we’re with our kids, when we’re home are just so focused, especially when you’re in survival mode on surviving, keeping them alive and oh, do I have enough diapers? Do I have this? X, Y, Z.

And so when you get out of that, it almost makes sense that it’s just, “Ah, I need to take a breath and my brain doesn’t know what to do with it,” just on a personal level and let alone, be on a “date” with your partner. Not quote unquote. I mean, it is a date, but you have to feel like it’s a date. As you were saying, you have to treat it like a date, be curious and all that sort of thing. That’s a challenge for everyone though. That’s a big challenge.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah. I think we both also just, we did talk about this where maybe this is just the… Relationships go through seasons and I think it’s important for first-time parents to understand, to not be alarmed, if your relationship changes or you go through a rough patch, if it’s even rough, that’s all normal. I feel like so many times in society and TV and all these shows, it’s like that picture-perfect couple always. And if there’s any fighting at all, all of a sudden you’re going to break up. But that’s not true at all. Relationships go have peaks and valleys and if you hit a rough patch, it’s okay and it’s normal. Every single couple has that valley, so to speak.

Will Braunstein:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s right on and why I also think it’s helpful for me and for a lot of my listeners to have someone to talk to and say, “Hey, is this normal? What are you experiencing?” Or, this is frustrating me. This is challenging to me because yeah, there’s a lot that goes on in your head that you’re not alone often.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah. So my husband and I did a little sit-down podcast episode on my podcast, reflecting on our first year of being parents together and something that came up was I wish that he had known the signs of postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression. It’s something that I realized that a lot of dads don’t know because a lot of women honestly don’t know. I didn’t know the symptoms of postpartum anxiety. I had no idea that I was suffering from this. There just isn’t a lot of mental health education given to you. You really have to go out and find it. So that’s one thing that I wish dads would educate themselves on because when women, when us moms are going through the thick of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety, we can’t even vocalize that we’re going through something because our realities are completely… We live in an alternate universe.

That having someone to say, “Hey, babe. I have a feeling you might have postpartum depression. Let’s figure this out together. Whether that’s therapy, medication, a mix of both, more self-care.” So, that’s something that I wish that my husband had known, but he will know for next time.

Will Braunstein:

Yeah, no, absolutely. And again, just you saying that, you’re not alone. I’m positive about that. And so my listeners hearing that, listeners if you’re listening right now, look for those signs and yeah vocalize with your partner. I think that’s so important with all this, with everything we’re talking about, communication won’t solve every problem, but not communicating certainly won’t help.

It’s easy to say that. It’s easy to say it to you. But when I’m in the thick of it with my partner, it’s a lot more real, but it’s the same thing and I found it’s more important to communicate more because things can kind of grow and grow and grow until you snap, are a bigger deal now that you have kids and you maybe have less patience. Maybe you’re more tired, there’s a lot going on, so the more you can control there, the better.

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah. Communication is the first step and then it’s putting in the work afterwards.

Will Braunstein:

Right. Listening, making sure you know how to communicate. You know, that’s also like you’re saying, you’re getting personal, which I appreciate it. We weren’t necessarily the most touchy, feely, emotional couple and that can also be okay, but knowing how do you communicate and what’s important to communicate to each other. Not just what are you saying, but like what do you need to be heard?

Lina Forrestal:

Yes. Oh, I love that. Yeah and I think also understanding each other’s love languages too. I don’t know if you talk about that on your show, but I think everybody has a love language, how they like to receive love and how they like to give love. I think that changes from pre-baby to post-baby.

I think after we have kids, our love languages do change and also understanding my husband’s love language helps me be a better partner. We ran into something recently where I really like words of affirmation, so I like to hear things like, “You’re doing a good job.” “You’re such a good mom.” “The food you made was really good.” Right? I like words of affirmation really fill me up. But my husband love language to give, like how he gives love is acts of service. So for him doing all the dishes, emptying the dishwasher, making sure all of our animals are fed and given flea and tick. He’s very much acts of service.

We are running into this miscommunication of, I feel like you don’t love me. You know, that’s just me being dramatic. Obviously, I know he loves me. But he’s like, “What do you mean? I wash the dishes. I do this.” I’m like, “Well, you never say that you like what I’m doing.” And so it was just funny. It was again, one of those moments of the light bulb going off of, “Oh, this is our love languages, completely missing each other.” So it’s funny moments like that and I’m sure hearing this, you could probably identify some moments in your life where you and your partner have had some miscommunications, or missteps, or you feel like you’re doing something that this is how you’re really showing love and the other person doesn’t quite pick up what you’re putting down.

Will Braunstein:

No, a hundred percent. Yeah. The love languages are inspiring and it’s amazing because they really seem to fit when you understand your love language and your partners and map it on reality. Like you just said, you’re both expressing love in different ways, but it was sort of missing each other a little bit and then you can fix it. That’s the key is always, you can evolve. You can change. You can fix it.

You touched on this a little bit in terms of I thought your postpartum anxiety and looking for that’s something that dads could be better, but with your audience, what frustrates moms you think about dads? What’s something that we can do better?

Lina Forrestal:

Ooh. That is a big topic.

Will Braunstein:

Shouldn’t be that big. I mean, not that much we can do better.

Lina Forrestal:

No, you guys are wonderful.

I think the one thing that probably frustrates moms a lot is just care taking of the child themselves. So what I mean is diaper changes or really just like being there. It’s hard. Sometimes when the mother is breastfeeding. A lot of dads feel like, well, what can I do if she’s the one feeding? But there are a lot of other things you can do to relieve moms afterwards. So actually holding your child, changing your child, just picking up a lot of the duties that not that she can’t do, but other duties, like basically split them in half. For example, washing pump parts, if your partner is pumping. Doing these little things can be so monumental and I think what’s frustrating for a lot of moms is, I think dads sometimes feel rendered useless, and they’ll ask, “How can I help?” And that’s such an open ended question and we just want to say, “Like. Everything. Like what? What can I do?Everything. Do everything. I need help with everything.”

So it’s maybe being a bit more specific of, do you need water? Do you need food? Do you want me to take our child for a little bit so you can rest. And it sounds so basic and it almost sounds easy, but you know, when you’re in the craziness of newborn life and you’re both sleep deprived, it’s easy to sort of lose track of these basic needs. Oh, shower. Dads, hold the baby so your wife can shower. That’s a really big thing.

Will Braunstein:

That’s great. I’d love you to talk as the kids get older and how things change there, but there are frustrations there. But as you said, I mean, dads feel that uselessness. You hit the nail on the head. It was just this feeling of what do I do? I can’t breastfeed. I can’t. The baby doesn’t want to be with me right now. They want to and a lot of times that’s what we’re feeling. I mean, even now I have older kids and sometimes it’s just “Mommy, mommy, mommy.” And usually it’s fine. One, it can be a little frustrating. And then two it’s like, I’m feeling this frustration and I’m not helping, which is like a double whammy on whammy kind of thing. You know?

So as the kids get older, what do you think are areas dads can improve on? Or what do you think frustrates moms in that realm?

Lina Forrestal:

Sure. So being proactive to spend quality time with your child. Yeah. I hear this a lot from a lot of first time moms is, they wish that their partners would be the one to look up the swimming lessons, be the one to look, any other activities, the music classes and the little things that children go to because it’s often that they feel like they have to lead the charge in terms of activities, doctor’s appointments, nutrition even, like caring about their child’s nutrition. It’s what we call the mental load of motherhood. It’s all these kind of unseen, did my child eat enough vegetables? When is their next doctor’s appointment? Do they have enough shoes that fit? That’s always a thing, right. Clothes that fit.

So, it’s being proactive because I think what happens a lot of times and I know what happens in my relationship is that my husband is ready for me to delegate. He’s like, I’m ready. Put me in coach. Just tell me what I need to do. But what we want is a bit more of a co-manager relationship, rather than like manager-employee. It’s weird to describe it that way.

Will Braunstein:

No, I think that’s right on. I mean, it needs to be a partnership. We’re partners. We use all the time, because it’s not helpful to say, “Hey, can you see if the shoes fit?” You know, because if you’re thinking about it, you just want to do it. You want to either offload it and say, “Okay, I know this is taken care of or not.”

I think it can be challenging to get to that point but if you start identifying areas. As an example, we did that with summer camp where I led the charge on summer camp this summer.

Lina Forrestal:

Ooh. That’s big. That’s awesome.

Will Braunstein:

My wife did some too. Wasn’t binary kind of thing but the point was she hopefully did not have to worry about it as much knowing that I was looking for things and we had things to fill and things like that. So, that’s just an example that worked for us but I know there are a lot of other areas where, well, shoes, that’s a good example though. It’s good when your kids get to a certain age, they just say, “My shoes don’t fit.” So you don’t have to. They tell you as opposed to…

Lina Forrestal:

I know, the guessing game right now.

Will Braunstein:

The guessing game. Yeah. Why are you crying? Why are you upset? What’s?

Lina Forrestal:

Yeah and sometimes honestly, as moms, we also feel bad asking our partners, our husbands, to do stuff. I don’t want to say, “Hey, I noticed that Archie only has one pair of shoes that fit. Can you go and look for another pair of shoes that fit?” Often, he’s not going to know the size or the style or he has no idea what to do, what to buy, so I just don’t bother him with that either. I take it on myself. Shoes is a good, like a small but mighty example in, it would be amazing if one day my husband came and said, “I noticed Archie only had one pair of shoes that fit. I bought him a size six in this other shoe.” Woo. Money. It seems like something so small. Right? We could just order something online, but it is a big thing.

Will Braunstein:

Yeah, no, absolutely. In this day and age of online, it’s not that hard to order something and more to the point to return it, if it’s not right. But making that effort can be worth a lot. Absolutely. I like that.

Lina Forrestal:

Effort. I love that. Yes. Effort. And your summer camp example was excellent.

Will Braunstein:

Oh, well thanks Lina. I really enjoyed this conversation. I gained some great insights. I’m thrilled. I think our listeners, I’m sure, our listeners are going to gain a lot as well. So, thanks for joining us, Lina. We’ll see you next time.

Lina Forrestal:

Thank you, Will. Bye.

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