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We’re With Her!

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Totally Mommy Podcast

Episode 143

Elizabeth and Vanessa profess their love for the one and only Hillary Clinton! Then they discuss consent, misogyny and a whole slew of awesome listener questions such as – how to deflect anti girl baby sentiment, how to sleep train a four month old, how to overcome PTSD from a first labor to have a good experience with the second, how to cope with mom jealousy, how to teach little ones hygiene, how to navigate a terrible maternity leave nightmare where there’s no support, how to encourage  your spouse to address their emotional issues before getting pregnant, how to accept a change in family planning that wasn’t expected, and what to do if you thought you’d be ready to start a family but aren’t sure. Enjoy!


Andrea says:

Hey all! I’m not a mom but I’m a long time listener of all of Elizabeth’s podcasts. And I definitely love Vanessa and Elizabeth’s chemistry on TM! Anyways, I know TM is ending so I didn’t want to write in with a question I’m sure has been asked before. Maybe some TM moms can give me some advice (FYI E&V touched on this today, so I’m relevant!).

Basically, my husband and I have been together for 5 years, married for 2. I turned 31 on the 10th, he’ll be 33 on his next birthday. So we’ve been talking kids seriously for months. What makes our situation different from some is that for the past year we’ve been paying down debt we incurred after shuttering a business we started together. We went from being almost $100,000 in debt to $20,000 (the remaining debt is actually interest free–pro tip: negotiate!) in 11 months. It’s taken a lot of hard work and frankly luck, but we’re doing fine financially. But I have to say, if I had a kid I don’t think I’d want to leave him/her for the job I’m currently doing. It’s just ok.

In addition, we’ve planned a vacation for February to celebrate having paid down our debt (we should be very close debt free if we continue our current payment plans) and we’re going to the Caribbean, so now I’m also freaking out about Zika (is that still a thing? I hardly hear about it anymore?).

The thing is (and I don’t know if it’s because of my birthday) but I’ve been thinking about pregnancy/parenthood so much that I can barely focus on anything else. Should I just wait until after our vacation and get this thing started? Am I crazy to want to start a family even though we’re still paying off debt? My husband’s being annoyingly supportive, saying that although he really wants kids he thinks it’s ultimately my decision because I’m the one who’s going to have to carry a pregnancy/deal with the postpartum fall out.

OK. Question/Rant over.

April says:

You’re definitely not crazy to want to start a family while you still have debt. Honestly, I think most people have at least $20k in debt – and interest free? You’re in great shape. Obviously it’s a personal decision, but I say yes, go for it after your vacation! My husband and I did something similar, we went to Europe on vacation in February 2015 and got pregnant the month after we got back. 🙂 One last hoo-rah before baby!

Andrea says:

Thanks April! I don’t have too many close friends who are moms so it’s been a lot of solo-soul-searching. It’s nice to bounce my ideas off of people who have some perspective!

Abby says:

Love the beginning of this EP, I’m SO with you gals. I love hearing enthusuiastic support of Hillary in an election season that has been so overwhelmingly disturbing and depressing. Love ya!

Diane says:

I’m going to weigh in on the topic of gender stereotyping, which I have a lot of opinions about, so fair warning 😉

I have a friend with two children. One of them is quiet and thoughtful and loves animals, time alone to think and do crafts, and conversations about emotions. The other is loud and boisterous, loves to ask a million questions, run around screaming, and joke about butts and nipples. They are both boys, but something tells me that if the first child were a girl, his behavior would be explained by his gender, rather than his personality.

We tend to draw conclusions from small data sets and then use that to prove our unconscious biases, like that girls act one way and boys another, even though there is no evidence to suggest that boys and girls are intrinsically vastly different.

There are small differences that become exaggerated because we internalize gender stereotypes from a very young age. In fact, those differences are more likely to be the result of nurture than nature. (

Boys and girls are socialized in very different ways — girls rewarded for being quiet, boys for being active, for example. Even if we say things that are meant as compliments, like that girls are more thoughtful or boys less hard work, it does perpetuate gender stereotypes, and I think it is harmful because this stuff is cumulative. A UK company, Network Rail, did a survey that showed by the time girls are seven, they’re discounting the idea that they could be engineers (

A neuroscientist called Cordelia Fine wrote a book debunking common misconceptions about gender called Delusions of Gender that goes into this in more detail and is well worth a read. One of the things she says is that ‘methodologically rigorous’ studies have shown no difference in girls’ and boys’ preferences, but that children can pick up on social expectations about what their gender is ‘supposed’ to like when they’re as young as two.

Sorry to ramble on, I do love and am going to miss the podcast and even though I can’t vote in the U.S, I am so WITH HER.

Abby says:

Thanks for sharing all of this info. I’m really wanting to navigate this well for my baby daughter and any future children. In our home it’s not an issue but I need tools to express this to certain people in our life, so thanks. If you are in the FB group it would be great to share these resources there as well.

emily says:

I totally agree with Diane and the “writer-inner”. I was actually a little irritated by Elizabeth and Vanessa’s answers (but I still love you guys!!!).

My brother and sister in law have three daughters and they couldn’t be more different. The eldest is more reserved and focused, while the second daughter is so rambunctious and always on the precipice of something dangerous. The third daughter is still a toddler but is her own person. If the second daughter were a boy, they probably would have made the conclusion that ‘boys are so much harder!’, when in reality, every child is an individual and has their own personality.

My sister in law says she often feels put down by other mothers when they say “you have three girls, you’re so lucky! I have boys and they are soooo much harder” etc, etc. I’m of the opinion that everyone is an individual and reinforcing gender stereotypes, no matter how innocent it seems, is damaging.

Keli says:

TOTALLY agree!! We have two girls and the oldest (4.5) is SO energetic, impulsive, and rambunctious (love her to pieces – she is also extremely creative and bright). She can’t sit and focus on anything for more than 5 minutes…when she does, it is HEAVEN!! Our youngest is a bit more calm, shy and focused, but they both have their moments and definitely can act like “threenagers.” I thought I wanted 3, but I think we are DONE!! I’m too tired – haha. It couldn’t be more true that every child is an individual when it comes to eating, sleeping, playing, and their gender!

Keli says:

Awww, and I’m also the writer-inner who was wondering about how to mourn my dream of having 3 kids when I think a fam of 4 is what we’re going to stay. What BEAUTIFUL advice – thank you, Elizabeth and Vanessa!! I’m going to save this episode and listen to your answers whenever I’m feeling “the ache.” 💝

vanessa says:

Thank you, Diane! This is a great response and I loved these resources. We don’t read/discuss the questions beforehand, and we’re just shooting from the hip/heart. This one stuck with me because the question was great and I actually needed time to think about it too, read and really unpack it because it’s not been a direct issue in my life. This is wonderful, right-on, and I feel way better about this than what I said! Thanks for taking the time to write and pull all this together, it’s very very helpful. In the last year I feel like I’ve been waking up to way more internalized gender issues than I ever, ever thought I had. This stuff runs deep. <3

Jessie says:

WELL SAID DIANE!! I always say… an n=1 doesn’t a proven hypothesis make!

Joy says:

I’m the writer-inner about the minor mom jealousy of my SAHM friends. Just wanted to say thanks to Elizabeth & Vanessa for a great discussion. My favorite parts:
“Sacrifice looks different for everyone. For some people it means giving up a career but for other people it means staying in a career.” – Thanks Vanessa, that’s super validating.
“The universe provides. What’s right for every family is how the cookie crumbles….” – Thanks Elizabeth, this was eye opening for me. What you went on to say about maybe it suits the kid’s personality better to be out of the home so they’re not ‘bored out of their gourds’ is spot on for my kid. I needed to hear that, thank you!

Sad the show is ending – best of luck to you both.

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