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Diverse Thinking Different Learning

Jan 9, 2024

Many parents, particularly moms, feel like taking care of your health and well-being only comes after your family’s needs are met. That essentially means that there’s no time left for any form of self-care. But today’s guest discusses how we can take better care of ourselves and in doing so, take better care of the ones we love.

Leslie Forde is the CEO and Founder of Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs®. Her business provides evidence-based tools for moms to reclaim time from the never-done list for well-being. And she helps employers retain caregivers.

Over 3,500 parents have participated since March of 2020 in the Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs research study - the longest running study of its kind about the pandemic’s ongoing impact on the work/life, care, and wellness needs of parents.


Show Notes:

[2:45] - Leslie returned to work after a second maternity leave and didn’t learn the importance of a mom’s hierarchy of needs until she completely burned out.

[4:19] - When she went back to work, she felt like the answer was to just work “harder.”

[5:26] - In hindsight, there were a lot of signs that she was not okay. Everyone was flourishing except for her.

[7:46] - Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs has self-care at the top. But the reason we don’t spend time on this is because the other things are never done.

[10:28] - If you think that you will start something for yourself when something else is done, you will never start.

[11:58] - Health problems for moms often don’t show up until later in life and can be attributed to ignoring self-care practices.

[14:10] - Leslie shares a story about making cookies and how a hobby can turn into something stressful.

[15:51] - Your health and well-being is of equal importance to your children’s health and well-being.

[16:55] - Consequences of ignoring health are gradual and it could feel easier to put it off compared to more immediate consequences of focusing on your family.

[18:38] - Perfection is not critical. Be flexible and find a set of practices that work for you.

[19:59] - Mom-guilt is real and it is a heavy weight.

[21:57] - Navigating the health and unique needs of a neurodiverse child is huge and a significant amount of work.

[23:08] - Awareness and education is improving and is better than it's ever been. But the systems in place are still not designed to help those who learn and think differently.

[25:12] - Give yourself achievable goals that will make you feel the success of accomplishing work that needs to be done, but in more manageable ways.

[26:12] - Guilt can be paralyzing, depressing, and decelerating.

[27:36] - Self-care doesn’t mean a spa day. It could mean a good night’s sleep or a healthy meal.

[29:03] - Find the resources that will help you. Your commitment is not to solve the problem. You don’t have to do it alone.

[30:32] - Pick something from the top of Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs and make it a habit.

[33:37] - If you can create a routine out of something, it will relieve a lot of the mental load of maintaining it.

[36:46] - Defer, eliminate, outsource, or spouse source things that are too much to manage at once.


About Our Guest:

Leslie has used research to inform growth and innovation strategy for over 20 years. Most recently, she held leadership positions at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and CSpace, an Omnicom market research agency. And for the past decade, she’s focused on media and technology for the childcare, eldercare, mental health, and education sectors. She’s a frequent speaker and consultant to organizations on how to retain and support parents, caregivers, and people of color, including HubSpot, Merck, Scholastic and the Barr Foundation. Her writing about well-being, equity and the future of work has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, Parents Magazine, TLNT, Directorship and her website, Mom’s Hierarchy of Needs among other publications. She’s been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, National Geographic, Fast Company, US News & World Report, SHRM, and many other outlets.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.