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“I was woefully underprepared for the birth of ME as a mother.” Chelsea Robinson felt the massive change in her entire identity when first becoming a mom, and she channeled that passion into her life’s work. The licensed clinical social worker and mother of two focuses on educating and coaching other moms - as well as other professionals in the industry - to navigate matrescence in an empowering and educational way, while working to break down patriarchal stereotypes of what it means to be a mother.
Chelsea, tell us a little bit about you:
I’m a licensed clinical social worker and founder of Mama's Modern Village. I am a matricentric feminist psychotherapist, matrescence educator and a mother of two. With over 10 years of experience in the field of mental health, I support mothers with 1:1 clinical therapy and matrescence coaching. I also offer my favorite program, the Becoming Mama program, for mothers wanting to explore their matrescence and the impact of mothering in patriarchal motherhood. In addition, I offer a training for professionals called The Matricentric Way, focused on the theories of matrescence and matricentric feminism. My life's mission and my heart's work is to help educate on these concepts and be a part of the paradigm shift in maternal care.
What did becoming a mom look like for you?
I "thought" I was prepared - read all the books, had the best doctors etc. and I was someone who wanted to be a mother my whole life. Yet, I was woefully underprepared for the birth of ME as a mother - my identity changed, the relationships with those I loved shifted, my values and priorities felt different...I was very undone in the process. I couldn't figure out how to keep doing "it all" - being the mom I wanted to be, thrive in my career and have a marriage that was flourishing. I felt so confused by it all. Hence, a huge reason I now do what I do!
What helps you enjoy the journey - especially on the hard days?
Remembering that I am not alone in this - that somewhere, probably down the street, is another mother juggling, struggling and loving through it all, just like me. It's the little moments - the snuggles, the laughs, the playfulness. It's the me-time that allows me to come back refreshed and with a new perspective.
How does Matrescence’s Mission to “mother the mother” resonate with you as a mom?
I share your mission in my work as well. Mothers need to be mothered (we all do!). I say "it takes a village to raise a mother" - no one is "born" knowing how to mother...it really is a learned skill and practice. We need one another to see us, hold us and help us navigate these unchartered waters, even if we are seasoned mothers!
What is your favorite part about motherhood? What is the most challenging?
My favorite part of motherhood changes all the time! It's hard to say yet probably being able to see my children grow up...each day feels like I see the world anew through their eyes and if I can slow myself down enough to enjoy that with them...it feels magical. I love the moments of feeling truly connected with my children - where I am not distracted and simply present with them. Those feel like moments I want to capture and freeze (but let's be honest, those are very few and far between the chaos of every day!). The hardest part for me is navigating the assumptions about what it means to be a mother in patriarchal motherhood - intensive mothering, being a "good" mother etc. While I am acutely aware of these unrealistic expectations, I still feel trapped by them from time to time. It takes work and intention to separate myself from them!
What is the best advice you received about parenting and who did you get it from?
Just "love" your kids was the best advice. My dad told me that. It feels basic, but that's the foundation of my mothering. I want my children to know they are loved at the end of the day - accepted, belong and are valued for who they are. How I do that changes and sometimes I mess it up - but if I can go back to that as my North Star - "to love my kids", then I feel like I am on the right track.
What struggles have you encountered finding balance? How do you navigate them?
"Balance" is such a trick and honestly, not sure if I think it's possible. I think it's a constant juggle of shifting priorities. When I try to wear all my hats at the same time (mom, business owner, wife, sister, friend, etc.), I am usually feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and like I'm failing at everything. Yet, if I can be present with one at a time, and switch completely as I need to, I tend to feel more accomplished, more present and more compassionate towards myself. A big piece of this journey has been acknowledging that I can't "have it all" (especially at once!) and then naming the expectations of patriarchal motherhood for what they are - unrealistic and stemming from many messages about intensive mothering and hustle culture. This helps me realize it isn't me failing, but rather, that these are impossible conditions I'm mothering within. I can then shift back into focus with what is a priority to me at that moment.