Motherhood Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Great (and Neither Does Self-Care)




December 31, 2018

So, apparently, Christmas was a bust this year, at least according to my five-year-old daughter. 

“Mom, I think I don’t really want to celebrate again” she told me yesterday. Her little body let out a heavy sigh and her long lashes turned down to the floor. 

“Why’s that, sweetie?”

“Well, it wasn’t snowing so we didn’t have a White Christmas and some of my gifts weren’t what I told Santa that I wanted. So, we might as well not celebrate the holiday next year.”

Now it was my turn to breathe a big sigh. I know you know exactly why. I spent weeks making a list and checking it twice (no three times) to make sure everyone was fully accounted for in the Santa department and, knowing my oldest is especially sensitive, I made sure to go over her part of the list a few times just to ward off disappointment. This is not the first time I’ve heard about a birthday or even a school day being less than ideal.

Despite my best efforts though (and things way out of my control like the weather, for instance), I guess Christmas didn’t meet the mark in her book.

“Darling,” I told her, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Santa and mommy can’t read your mind but we love you very much and wanted Christmas to be special. I bet you loved the chocolate cake you got at dinner and the sparkly chandelier you got for your room (yes, you heard that right. I bought my kid a crystal (plastic), fancy (Target clearance special) light fixture as a present. The moment she opened the package, her eyes lit up like she’d just won the stinkin’ lottery).” Her eyes sparkled again at the memory and she reluctantly acquiesced to the idea that we would not be doing a second-chance holiday extravaganza to make up for any failures in the first round. 

It’s pretty easy for me to let my kid’s disappointment go when it’s unreasonable—to brush it off as immaturity. It’s harder, though, when it comes to my own expectations and threshold for disappointment—not so much at the holidays, but for my life as a whole.

I realized as I watched my daughter sulking that I have a way of sulking a lot, too—of really needing certain aspects of my world to be just the way I want them to be…or I consider them not good at all. 

That’s true for so many other moms I meet, too.

When it comes to their performances as mothers, when it comes to their children’s health or when it comes to their own health: in order for things to be good enough, they have to be perfectly perfect. 

The most obvious area where my plans for perfection get thwarted? Exercise. 

I’m never going to be a fashion model and I’m not trying to get to a size two, but I think it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with exercising. I don’t mean I have an eating disorder—that I’m obsessed with my appearance or with reaching top physical fitness. I mean that, when I’m exercising consistently, I eat better, sleep better, feel better, act better—I am literally a better person. And when I’m not, I’m a pretty miserable, anxious, sluggish individual. 

My work life plus my home life, unfortunately, make it incredibly difficult to make working out even three times a week a reality. My oldest daughter often wakes up early in the morning and snuggles in bed with me before I leave for work, waking the instant I rouse myself to do an early morning video. My patients’ appointments often edge past closing time at the office, making it impossible to arrive in time for an after work studio session. Even on my late-start work days, my nanny doesn’t arrive until 7:00 a.m., making it usually impossible to get out of the house in time to make it to any type of organized studio-type event with enough time to also get to the office.

Enter me, crying on the couch a few weeks ago about how I never actually get to get to a spin class, or a yoga class or a ____ (fill in the black with some other yuppy, group-based exercise experience). There I was, complaining to my husband about how I can never fit a workout in, about how I feel some days like physical fitness is a totally wasted goal now that my post-two baby, late 30s bod takes about 150% more effort to maintain, much less improve.

Extrapolating past fitness to the bigger picture—to the picture almost every mom I know paints sometimes about wanting just a few moments of freedom to reconnect to her pre-mom self. 

And enter my husband, sitting next to me on the couch—who hates analyzing for the sake of analysis but who also has a way of speaking streamlined wisdom in the moments that really count. After offering up alternatives to my preconceived self-care plans (take a run when you get home with one of the kids, get a pass to the tiny gym on the first floor of your building and jump on the elliptical for 15 minutes at lunch, squeeze in 10 minutes on an exercise video), to which I all turned down, he said this:

“You know, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be great.”

He was so right. Just like I try to teach my own kids to be flexible problem-solvers, I have to work on the same thing for myself. I also have to accept that, for my current stage of mommyhood, things need to be a little less fancy and a little more abbreviated when it comes to physical self-care. Whereas taking a full hour at a time by myself was really critical to my mental health in my babies’ newborn days, I have more bandwidth now to think a bit outside the box.

I started running again, something I’ve enjoyed since junior high school but have done way less of in the last five years. It’s like I’m saying “hi” to an old friend. I still make it to classes on the weekends when I can but the pressure is off to make it all work in quite the same way. The added benefit? I’ve started taking my kids with me—my oldest riding right alongside me or my youngest riding in the stroller—and it’s giving us even more quality time together. 

Sometimes we make things—even good things that are meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating—so much more complicated than they need to be.

It turns out my daughter and I both have something to learn about not getting upset when things don’t go exactly our way (me, especially). My New Year’s Resolution? To approach my motherhood experience—with all the ups and downs and unexpecteds that come with it—with the perspective that perfect would be nice, but that less than perfect can be pretty amazing, too.

Want More Parenting Help?

Want more information about how to parent and cope when you’re a new mom? Check out our book, The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care For Your Infant and Yourself.

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Looking for baby registry or baby shower gifts? You’ll love our Newborn Gift Boxes (in Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and Gender Neutral). They’re full of information, inspiration, and a little love for all the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life (including you!).

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Big News: The Newborn Baby Blueprint to Be Republished By a Major Publisher!




November 15, 2018

We’re excited to announce some major news we’ve been keeping under wraps at Modern Mommy Doc:

The Newborn Baby Blueprint, our signature book, is being taken on by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’ publishing division. The AAP is the most highly-respected organization in the field of pediatrics. It’s considered to be the most authoritative voice on pediatric care out there! We’re honored to be included in their highly-esteemed catalog, along with other influencers and experts in the perinatal care world.

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It’s hard to believe that this little mama-doctor-writer’s dream is finally coming true and I’ve NEVER been more full of gratitude for the people and the experiences that have brought me to this moment.

Thank you all for your amazing support and encouragement along the way.

We’re working hard to get the book ready for re-publishing under their publishing wing and you’ll be the first to know when it goes live (we know the timeline but we’ve got to keep it a secret for now!)!!

We’re also already hard at work with the AAP on ANOTHER book in the Blueprint series, this time for Working Moms.

Until The Newborn Baby Blueprint is republished, we’re taking it off Amazon and other online bookseller sites as of Monday, November 19, 2018.

It will still be available on our own site in both eBook and paperback form until the book goes live with the AAP. We’ll also continue to offer our newborn baby gift boxes. 

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We’re absolutely THRILLED to be entering this new stage in our Modern Mommy Doc journey and we can’t wait for you to come along with us.

Stay tuned next week for another post in our self-care series for mamas and mamas-to-be.








Normal Infant Freak Out Findings




May 4, 2018

Are you freaking out about your infant’s freakouts? Most of us tend to freak out when we have an infant at some time or another!

Listen in as we talk with PDX Parent about our article, out this month on Portland newsstands (released 4/30).



Have questions about being a new parent? The book is here!




May 2, 2018

If you’re a new parent, or a parent-to-be, you know having your first baby takes a lot of preparation. There are so many things to plan and products to buy. When it comes down to it, though, the one thing you really need… is solid, useful information.

If you’ve been parenting for awhile, the value of credible information is clear, and you probably wish you had more of it early on!

At Modern Mommy Doc, we’re excited to present our new book, full of practical, reliable, down-to-earth information about preparing to care for your first baby.

Whether you’re an expectant mom looking for newborn care and self-care guidance or a seasoned grandma (or grandpa!) looking for a baby shower gift, this is the resource for you:

The Newborn Baby Blueprint: Preparing to Care for Your Infant and Yourself

Being a new parent is awesome and amazing…and terrifying. There is so much to learn, so much to prepare for. And, sometimes, it can be hard to think beyond the birth to caring for the actual baby. This is not a time you want to completely wing it. The good news? You don’t have to. You can’t know it all before you have a little one, but you can learn the critical information that will help you feel confident, educated, and ready for this new adventure.

Dr. Casares walks parents-to-be through what they really need to know once their baby arrives. With a relatable mix of humor and practical advice, Dr. Casares delves deep into her own personal experience as a new mom and a pediatrics expert to guide expectant parents through this life-changing transition.

Learn how to:

– Care for a newborn

– Keep your newborn safe

– Set yourself up for breastfeeding success

– Find childcare providers and a pediatrician

– Prepare your brain, your partner, and your home for having a baby!

Buy your copy here.


first time moms, expecting mom, new mom


How to Set Yourself Up for Breastfeeding Success




March 5, 2018

Are you pregnant or know someone who is? Do you have some questions about breastfeeding? For most moms-to-be, breastfeeding prep is at the top of the learning to-do list. If you’ve breastfed in the past, you know it can feel overwhelming and defeating as you’re first getting started. Most new moms wish someone had guided them through the process before they were in the thick of it. That’s why we’re offering a free webinar this week: How to Set Yourself Up for Breastfeeding Success.

I’m sharing my top tips for getting ready for this major undertaking which is totally natural but does not always come naturally!

Share with a friend, sign up yourself. Get ready to learn and prepare!

FREE Webinar

How to Set Yourself Up for Breastfeeding Success

Wednesday, March 7th

6:30 PM PST


How to Set Yourself Up for Breastfeeding Success


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