Dr. Zelana Montminy On Motherhood
Can you tell us what inspired you to write your book 21 Days to Resilience? I started in my career as a happiness researcher and early on realized that our obsession with always wanting to be happy is making people miserable. Groundbreaking research shows that happiness is in fact much easier to attain if we stop focusing on it so much. So I started looking at what the most content, successful people have in common and it’s resilience, our ability not only to overcome adversity but to also thrive because of it. The good news is that it’s not something we’re born with or without - it’s a skill we learn. There’s a lot out there talking about why it’s important but not much about how to actually build the skill. I wanted to create a toolkit on how to become resilient, and that’s how the book was born! Your book is all about resilience – what role does it play in motherhood? Motherhood and resilience go hand in hand! But just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you’re actually resilient since I define resilience as flourishing, not just surviving. People often think of resilience as bouncing back, but we all know people who bounce back and are ultimately miserable. That’s important to remember especially when it comes to motherhood. Resilience isn’t just about going through the motions and trying to get by – it’s about enjoying the ride, and growing from our challenges. Who’s a mom that inspires you? I can’t choose one! So many moms inspire me every day, from my mom and my sister to my friends and also the random mom who I don’t know passing me on the street juggling four kids, one melting down…and she still keeps her cool somehow! The kind of mom who truly inspires me has created a life of meaning and purpose, who gracefully guides her children while also nurturing herself and her relationships. What are some practical ways you think moms can support each other? Create a list of key moms in your life and set a time, even an alarm, that once a week or once a month, you’ll check in with those people ideally in person or by phone, but also by text or email can work too. Instead of asking if you can help, ask how you can help. Offer to pick up your neighbor’s child to take them to soccer practice even if you think she doesn’t need the assistance. Having a group of moms you regularly talk to about issues that are occurring is emotionally satisfying and so helpful, but we also need to rely on each other for logistics more than we currently do in our culture. Even if some people have hired help, there’s a different sense of connection and intimacy that’s created when a friend offers to have your child over for a playdate so you can have a moment of peace to yourself. Who are you going to give your Giving Key to? My mom!