Dana Suskind, MD, is Founder and Co-Director of the TMW Center for Early Learning + Public Health, Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program, and Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics, and Public Policy (affiliated) at the University of Chicago. 

382 Society's Promise to Parents

Dr. Dana Suskind

You should not have to go it alone as a parent.

In fact, the United States fails parents in many ways that lead to poor outcomes for children’s brain development. In this episode, Hunter talks to Dana Suskind, world-class pediatric surgeon, social scientist, and best-selling author of Thirty Million Words, about her latest book, Parent Nation, and the ways we parents can start to expect and demand more as the caretakers of the next generation.

Society's Promise to Parents - Dana Suskind [382]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Dr. Dana Suskind: It takes a parent to raise a child, but a society to support that parent.

[00:00:06] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 382. Today we're talking about society's promise to parents with Dr. Dana Suskind.

To the Mindful Mama podcast here, it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years. I'm the crater of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the bestselling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind Confident Kids. Welcome and Happy New Year. Welcome back to the Mindful Mama podcast.

It's 2023. Oh my gosh, it's crazy. Hey, if you haven't done so yet in 2022, please hit that subscribe button so you don't miss an episode. And if you've ever gotten anything from this podcast, please go over to Apple Podcasts. Leave us a rating and review. It helps the podcast grow more. Takes just like 30 seconds.

And. Hugely appreciated. In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Dr. Dana Suskind, founder and co-director of the T M W Center for Early Learning and Public Health Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant Program and Professor of Surgery, pediatrics and public policy at the University of Chicago.

She wrote 30 million words building a child's brain and. Parent nation unlocking every child's potential, fulfilling society's promise. And I'm so excited to talk to Dana because you may have heard me on this podcast. We put so much pressure on individuals and on ourselves to get everything right, but there is a role for our society and we're going to hear how.

Vitally important. The first three years of life are for a child's brain development, and we need to expect more and demand more from our societies and cultures to support caregivers of the next generation. It's incredibly important. So join me at the table as I talk to Dr. Dana Suskind kind.

I have been talking for years and years about mindfulness and self-care with the caveat. that. Extremely little support in many of our cultures, and that we may have to work multiple jobs. We may have all of these circumstances that make having a high stress level, like inevitable for a lot of people.

And so I sometimes I feel like I wanna put that caveat in because it's wonderful to say develop a mindfulness practice and to prioritize your needs as a parent. The, we live in a culture and society that really doesn't, and it drives me bananas. And this is exactly what you write about in Parent Nation.

So I was, I'm so excited to have you on to talk about this.

[00:03:19] Dr. Dana Suskind: Thank you. I'm thrilled to be here. Because everything is interrelated unless we take care of ourselves, all of the, all the hopes and dreams for our children, they're so interconnected. So I am, I'm thrilled to be. And to talk to you.

I'm a big fan, .

[00:03:37] Hunter: I'm excited to talk to you, and I would love to just start out by just asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself and why you wanted to write this book. .

[00:03:45] Dr. Dana Suskind: Yeah. So actually going all the way back, I am, in addition to being a mother and a I'm actually a pediatric physician, a pediatric cochlear implant surgeon to be exact.

And I always say that my journey into the world of social sciences and early childhood and Parenting really started in the operating room. And I won't tell you the whole story cuz it would take up the whole time. But long and short of it, it was really seeing. The unequal outcomes of my patients and understanding really how important the early years are and the importance and power of parents and caregivers for giving children the best, most healthy start.

That really drives all of my work and allowing all parents that opportunity by both sharing the incredible science of healthy brain development, but really, towards your discussion. How do we, if we know that parents and caregivers are so critically important, what does a society look like that really prioritizes their wellbeing for the wellbeing of children?

Because we know that the potential of children is completely dependent on the support for their parents and caregivers. That was a quick way to say, this is how I got to where I am. I want our country to be better so that parents are supported in the way they should be.

[00:05:07] Hunter: and just for the listener who doesn't know, a cochlear implant.

Physician is somebody who you say it .

[00:05:15] Dr. Dana Suskind: Yeah, absolutely. A cochlear implant is an amazing piece of technology that allows a child born, deaf, the ability to hear, to talk, and to mainstream educationally and socially. And so I started our cochlear implant program at the University of Chicago. Started implanting all these cute little kids who had all the same potential to learn, to talk and learn but then started noticing unsettling differences among them after implantation with some of my patients thriving and learning how to talk and learn on par with their hearing peers and others same time out of surgery, barely being able to communicate.

And so in that, Trying for me, trying to figure out why my patients had different outcomes and more importantly, what I could do about it really went into this world of social sciences where I learned about the importance of the first three years of life, the importance of parents and caregivers, forgiving children, the best possible start because.

really in the early years, it's language and nurturing interaction that builds a child's brain. No matter if you're a child born deaf who gets a cochlear implant or a T, typically developing children for all children, language and nurturing interaction, build a child's brain.

[00:06:37] Hunter: And the brain is pretty undeveloped when we're born, right?

Like it's an enormous amount. Can you tell us a little bit about the developmental brain science behind this, because I think that piece is so fascinating. It,

[00:06:50] Dr. Dana Suskind: it is. I couldn't agree more. I always say that the power of the brain science is really what pulled me out of the operating room. And so the story is, When we are born, most of our organs are fully formed.

Your heart, your lung, your kidney, they're, they function as they will, on day one as they will for their entire lives. But not the brain. The brain comes out underdeveloped so much so that, pediatricians call the first trimester, the early months after birth the fourth trimester.

Basically, our brains are born only a third of the adult size. Whereas, you think of the horses and turtles who can, feed and walk and do things like adults can't. Babies are underdeveloped and it's because their brains are underdeveloped. Waiting for the instruction guide from the environment.

All that nurturing snuggles, and talk and interaction are actually wiring up the brain. So much so that those first three years of life, 85% of the physical brain will be grown. A million new neural connections happen every second, which is wiring up the brain for all the thinking and learning. So really, I think of those first three years of life as an evolutionary gift because that is the reason that humans.

are the smartest, most creative of all species that period of time. And when we don't allow and support parents to do this right, we're in some ways squandering that evolutionary gift.

[00:08:21] Hunter: Yeah. And so these early years are so incredibly important because it's cuz I talk about neuroplasticity, we have it like all throughout our lives.

We, we know this now that we have it all throughout our lives, what we practice grows stronger. But those first three years, it's like that on steroid. Maybe that's a bad analogy, but no. .

[00:08:43] Dr. Dana Suskind: No. You're exactly right. What is neuroplasticity for the, your listeners who may not know, that's the brain's incredible ability to learn new things to wire up and in those first three years of life, at no other time of life will you have.

So much ability to learn new things. That's why if a baby's exposed to three languages, they can learn it without really trying, me, it's a little bit late and as you say, it's never too late, but it get becomes harder. So those I like to think of those first three years of life as if you're gonna do an analogy to a computer.

It's building that hard drive. We're all born with our. Potential, but that genetic potential will only come to fruition if you build it right? So you get one chance to build that hard drive and then all your later learning is like putting software on top of it. So if you don't get the most, most ram that you can, it becomes harder.

So yes, that's why those three first three years of life are so important. And when you don't get. Input, right? That necessary input because either a mother has to work three jobs, or there's issues of, stress in their world, or lots of other things, or they just don't know. You don't maximize that gift that children are born with because every child is born with a gift.

They're all different, they all look a little bit different, but to maximize it, you need that period of. ,

[00:10:14] Hunter: and this is not dear listener, to stress you out because I know my listeners and I know you're all like, oh my God, what am I not doing right? And have I done all the things that, Dr.

Suskin says that I should be doing to maximize this foundational gift? You are really talking about some really pretty. Basic pieces. And then we talk, we can also then talk about what hinders that kind of development for some people. Yeah.

[00:10:44] Dr. Dana Suskind: I want, and I'm glad that you said that because I hear this often and I want to emphasize to your listeners that there really is something called good enough Parenting.

Like sometimes people hear this work and say, oh my gosh, my first book was called 30 million Words, and I can explain why. This, it's sending the wrong message. It's, there is good enough Parenting, it's nurturing talk and interaction. It's what you do naturally. So it's not to stress you out.

It is to stress out our country though. Because while you're doing. All that you can be doing humanly possible. What I'm saying is that none of us were meant to do this alone without support. We often talk about it takes a village to raise a child. I actually wanna reframe that. Or somebody else has reframed it.

I don't wanna take this, but it takes a parent to raise a child, but a society to support that parent. . And that feeling of stress is. often because of the lack of societal support, because we've convinced parents, and frankly, especially mothers, that this is a go it alone scenario. That in some ways if you're not doing it all or things aren't going right, that because we've convinced them that it's go it alone.

There's this feeling of shame and stress. No. There is something good called good enough Parenting, and if anything, I want society and communities to know that we need to do better in supporting. parents and caregivers. So I wanna reemphasize to your listeners. The first three years of life, yes, are critically important and parents and caregivers are children's brain architects, but there is something called good enough Parenting, right?

This is not to stress you out at all. If anything, it's to remind you that just by those snuggles and reading and that nurturing interaction, you are building your child's brain. You don't have to have a PhD or fancy gadgets to do it at the same time. who I do want to be stressed out is our society because for too long we have been convincing parents, especially mothers, that this is a God alone thing.

That you are supposed to not only. Do it all, but if you're not, you're failing in some ways leading to stress and shame for mothers and parents. And if anything, I, I wanna emphasize that the potential of children depends on the support for parents and that we need to do better societally, whether it be businesses, policy makers, communities in better supporting and valuing the incredibly important role that parents play.

in building our society. They don't just contribute to it, they build it. These little kids are the future citizens of our country. Yeah,

[00:13:31] Hunter: this is a huge investment. So let's talk about what are those, what are the issues? Let's lay it out. What are the issues that are facing families today that are impacting their kids' brain development?

[00:13:44] Dr. Dana Suskind: Where Hunter, where do we start? . So I think the best way to think about it and the way I lay it out in parent, not 30, so lemme just tell you, I have, I had two books. My first book was 30 million Words, which really looked at the individual level what parents and caregivers, how. , they build children's brains.

So it's not the how-to, but it's really understanding from the individual level. Parent nation then takes that same brain science and says, okay, what does the brain science tell us that a society looks like that supports parents and caregivers in building children's brains? And the B, the way it lays it out is looking at what do children need?

In the early years they. Time and interact time with their parents for nurturing interaction they need. Enrichment, right? They need rich early language environments. They need protection from toxic stress because we know just as much as language and interaction are critical for brain development, we also know that protection from toxic stress is critically important for healthy brain development.

And so then knowing what children need allows you to say, okay, then what do parents need to provide? They need time, right? They need time to be able to provide that nurturing interaction. They need enrichment, they need to understand the brain science so that they can put those things into action. And they need enrichment in the form of living wages and, paid family and medical leave.

So they have that time and enrichment, and they need protection from toxic stress. They need communities and environments that are free. All those stressors, and that helps you lay out the roadmap of what society can provide and how do we break it up? I always say, people often think that this is about just a policy play.

And look, policy plays a huge role, but policy, business, healthcare, all play a role. What can policy do? The fact that we are literally the only. Developed nation, one of the few nations in the world not to pay, have federal paid family and medical leave, I think shows you where we are. So to start off, yes, the fact we need paid family and medical leave so that one in four mothers aren't forced to go back to work two weeks after giving birth.

That, that, let's start off. It's,

[00:16:14] Hunter: or fathers or do feel like they can't even choose to stay home and create that nurturing bond. With their kids. Because it's financially untenable. It's no. It's

[00:16:25] Dr. Dana Suskind: so frustrating. It is frustrating. And you're exactly right.

Father it's both fa, depending on the, the makeup of the family, fathers and mothers. Absolutely. And you can see there's so much science showing how powerful that is. For children's brain development, for the mental health of mothers, for mothers going back to work and being successful in the workforce for the bond between if it's a a cisgender family of the bond between the mother and the father.

And we can go into like how other countries do it and the impacts, but that's one thing.

[00:17:02] Hunter: And let's just say, a lot cuz a lot of people don't know, right? If you live in the United States, you just may, a lot of us just this is the way it is. But can you tell us like what people get in other countries that we are not getting because it's pretty like eye-opening.

I think ,

[00:17:20] Dr. Dana Suskind: it is totally eye-opening. From the paid family and medical leave because there are so many other buckets that we can talk about. As mentioned, literally we are maybe the only. We are the only developed nation without it. Some, there's a variance in what is provided, up to six months and even longer.

And in some Scandinavian countries, they have daddy days where they're, that, where there's paid leaves specifically for fathers that's a use it or lose it. So in, they've. I'm blocking on the, which country, but they have papa lattes where these dads who are taking paid leave, are hanging out with their kids and It's only for them.

It's a user lose it. And so it's a social norm that both, both parents take it if it's a two, two parent household. So paid leave. But let's talk about a different area of, supporting children of in childcare. In the. . We spend less on early childcare and education than almost any developed nation, right?

Looking at developed nations. I. . You can look at the Scandinavian countries that spend like 29,000 a year. Okay. That's, we can say they're outliers, but the average of developed nations with people with much smaller GDPs than we do is 14,000 a year per toddler for early childcare and education.

Can you guess, hunter, what we spend on childcare in this country? Average. Average.

[00:18:57] Hunter: Close to that. I know. Because even in the elementary school they don't, the, that's like much.

[00:19:03] Dr. Dana Suskind: Yeah, we spend, the average is 14,000. We spend $500 a year per time. . It's not even, it's, we don't even fake that.

We're even close and, I can go on and on about the different inequities, but I think that it stems so from a policy standpoint, there are, there's. Things that make huge differences. The Chi Child tax credit, right? We had for a period of time where it was a almost a universal because raising children is an expensive, it's not only a stressful, like we all know it's hard to raise children and do it well we get it, but it's incredibly expensive.

So much so that we've got a fertility crisis in this country. But we can talk about that later. But the funny thing is not the funny thing we had. Period of time where we had a child tax credit that really eased many of the burdens because childcare can be the cost of, a mortgage in many states or state college tuition.

But the interesting thing is people say, oh gosh, that costs so much. And yes, it costs so much, but people don't talk about the fact that actually you get, not only does it pay for itself, but you get. Huge returns on investment. So for the child tax credit, for every dollar you invest, you get $10 back in.

Long-term improvement in workforce, decrease, health issues decrease criminality. In fact, wow, early childhood is one of the best returns on investments. One of my. Colleagues here at the University of Chicago, Nobel Laureate, Jim Heckman, showed that for every dollar invested in early child, in early childhood, you get a $12 return on investment from decreased healthy well, because all these health issues that we look at later on in life, obesity, hypertension, et cetera, et cetera, they have its roots in early childhood.

So not only. A stronger workforce for tomorrow, but a healthier one too. So all of these. , these early childhood programs actually pay for themselves in spades. So

[00:21:18] Hunter: It, to me it makes so much sense. I am so on board. But I guess the problem is we come up against this and I love you, you have a line in the book about this, but we come up against this whole like pull yourself up by your bootstraps culture.

But you said, babies don't have any bootstraps, right? Like these things were, this is this critical time of life and we're leaving parents struggling, stressed, unable to, to show up for their kids just because of all the situations. And then it's, we're shooting ourselves in the foot because then we're raising, the ar.

Kids, our youngest kids are then growing up to then need so much more when they're older or suffer. We're missing the income that they could have be adding. And and, but it, I don't know. Personally, like there's all the statistics about the income, but also goes beyond that to like just a moral imperative that we.

That we take care of our children. Like this is the future Yeah. Of our country. No,

[00:22:25] Dr. Dana Suskind: absolutely. And I love that you said that was actually my wonderful friend Kim Noble, who says, you know that, babies don't have bootstraps, but you are exactly right. We are. Shooting ourselves in their foot because look, in the end, you're gonna pay, right?

No we pay less now or more later as a society and it, I always say we've got the scientific case, right? A huge scientific case. If I didn't do one more study showing the importance of early childhood and brain development, we wouldn't need one. We have an economic case. Both for the long term, at the stronger future workforce, healthier workforce.

But even today, as intertwined as early childhood. is in the future economy. Today's economy, because why? Mothers. Mothers, especially of young children, are leaving the workforce. It's an impossibility because childcare, we don't have that infrastructure, and so businesses today are losing out.

Big time, right? I think they lose 34 billion a year because of the childcare issue. When people can't bring their full selves to work, e everyone loses. And and, and there's so much science to show. Yeah, I could go on and on, but

[00:23:47] Hunter: yes. Okay. It's amazing. No, we have here on Team Mindful.

Mama meant our, my amazing shout out to our amazing team member Emma, who's Canadian. She had a year off of paid leave, paid for a year for every child she had five kids. That was five years. , it's amazing, right? I have a friend in Denmark or in the Hague in the Netherlands, and she had married a French guy that ended up there, but ended up staying there because she had free childcare from birth on high quality childcare too.

Not just, not just sticking, tons of kids, like really high quality childcare and we just, we don't understand. We don't even see the possibility of this alternative, but was this something like, was there historical precedent? Weren't we close to getting some of this stuff passed at some point a long time ago.

[00:24:46] Dr. Dana Suskind: Long time ago, and actually even recently. ? Yeah. The interesting thing is I started writing this book, at the beginning of the pandemic. and it was coming on 50 years of what was called the Child Development Act. We were this close to having a very different world where we were gonna have high quality early childcare and supports for parents, whether they'd be stay at home or working.

And it was gonna be a universal and and what was interesting, so it was called the Child Development Act, and it was went to Nixon d Nixon's desk. We were that close. It had huge, bi huge bipartisan support. And in fact, Nixon actually ran on early, an early childhood platform. It feels very v which is.

Crazy to think about. And at the 10th hour, he ended up vetoing the bill and really, drove a stake into the heart of early childhood so that it's this siloed, chaotic mess that it is today. And, I always think, gosh, if that had been signed, it could have been a very different world.

And we've seen D. Attempts at rectifying it and there are plenty of people who are working on it, but there was, I don't know if you saw this New Mexico just signed, just made early childcare. Oh, it's part of their constitution now just happened. And so they're gonna have, I think a continuous, it's not gonna pay for everything but a continuous stream of support for.

For, early childhood and education. So it's it's a constitutional right to early childcare and education there. So pretty exciting

[00:26:46] Hunter: stuff. Dana, what is the what is the vision here, right? Like I'd lo it's, the problems are enormous. It's affecting kids like, on a daily basis, right?

We know that, things like like poverty and not. Not enough childcare, stress of family kid, parents not having time with their kids. This is all affecting kids on a daily basis, and it's heartbreaking, but what is your vision? I love that you have this, Goal that we're going for.

I think that is really beautiful. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:27:22] Dr. Dana Suskind: So the large vision in the ideal is really what underpins parent nation. We need a parent nation and what is a parent nation, A nation that truly puts children and families at the center that sees parents and par, as not just contributing to the society, really building it.

And the incredibly important you. onus on all of society, not just, policy, but policy, healthcare, business, all coming together to support parents so that they can support their children. But what's clear, what's clear even, since the pandemic, which I thought was gonna have shine a light and then things would change.

But if anything, , things haven't changed. What's become quite clear is that things move forward even in this last reconciliation bill, which you know, was great, climate and prescription drugs, but not one thing for children and families. But despite everyone knowing, everyone is struggling, the parents are struggling, childcare providers are struggl.

I realized that we have everything. We've got the economic, the scientific, the business case. What we don't have is the public will. So the real question is, we know what the ideal needs to look like, but how do we get there? And one of the things that I put in, that I had in the book a little bit, but I really feel strongly is that, we, in the same way as the A R P, back 50 plus years ago.

At the same time as we had the near miss of the Child Development Act, the a r p transformed what it is to be EL elderly in this country. Back 50 plus years ago, the elderly were the poorest, most underserved segment of society through the a r P and bringing together. Segment of society is better served, right?

Poverty rates fell by 70%. They view themselves as worthy contributors to this country. Social security, Medicare, has really transformed what it is to be elderly in this country. I think parents and children are equally deserving and of in need. Right now the poor segment of society are children under five.

It's crazy,

[00:29:54] Hunter: right? Can you repeat that? It's, I think this is so important for the listener to understand. Say that again because it's mind boggling. And

[00:30:01] Dr. Dana Suskind: 50 plus years ago, the elderly were the poor segment of our society. Fast forward today, it's children. Children between under the age of five that are the poor segment of society and therefore are obviously their parents.

And. and we know, forget about, we can talk a whole lot about how poverty is bad for children's brain development. It is really a not a good thing. And so in some ways, I think that parents and caregivers at this point, don't, haven't felt worthy, right? Because we've convinced them this is a God alone scenario.

If things aren't going well, it's all on you. But the truth is that there is such an opportunity to bring parents and caregivers across the ideology, divide across the economic, religious, and ethnic spectrum, just the way the A R P did to really advocate on behalf of the needs. Parents and children because we think of the truth is the a r P is one third Republican, one third Democrat, one third independent, because they focus on the needs that benefit their entire group.

And in that same way, parents of children zero to five. Whether, in the early years, whether they, whatever their view on Parenting is. Are struggling with the same things and I think that together they can really push forward the necessary changes so that all children are supported and all parents are supported.

[00:31:38] Hunter: I, I love that idea of uniting parents of, kid pre preschool aged kids, and what are we, just to think about that. What would we want, right? We want that paid parental leave. We want. High quality childcare, but then the childcare que question is so tricky, right?

Cuz it costs so much money, but then they're not getting paid very much. And you point out in Parent Nation how it's really hard to find high quality childcare in this country. Like actually a lot of it is not very good quality. That's true,

[00:32:12] Dr. Dana Suskind: right? Yeah. No, and as you say, the providers which, they are the brain, they're, other than parents, childcare providers are building, the brain architects of our children's future.

And yet we're, they are the lowest paid, one of the lowest paid sectors of our society. Often made up of women of color. It is just an abomination. So these all absolutely need to change. A. A coalition of parents and child, caregivers would determine what the major, issues they wanted to push forward.

Social Security and Medicare, they could choose, as you say, paid family and medical leave, which makes a whole lot of sense. They could put forward the early cha child tax credit, right? Because that could also. Put, support parents whether they decide they wanna be stay at home or single parent or dual parent.

I think they would want to choose the major issues that really are the thorny issues for all parents. But I think childcare, is a, we need to address both sides of the market cuz it's not just about like you. Having more of it, it's also supporting those who are part of it. And then seeing, yeah and remember the other thing to think about a r p is that the truth is in some ways it's a market based solution, right?

It. People don't, just aren't joining for the advocacy. Many, the number one reason is for the travel discounts, health insurance, et cetera. Discounts on diapers and, high quality childcare and be, you, this could be a market based solution because the truth is the A r P is a 1.57, $1.5 million billion juggernaut, right?

I know, right? You don't think of them as a business, but they're basically a business for good. They're using that, that those funds to then support their stakeholders. So instead of having, stakeholders that are, on Wall Street there, it's the elderly. And you could imagine, millennials spend, I think at 1.3 trillion on Parenting stuff.

That, some of that could be, helping. Improve their lot and supporting them in raising children.

[00:34:51] Hunter: And this is amazing and this is like you, you and your team working on Parent Nation. Cuz Dana, you're more than just ideas like with your last book, you started putting these ideas into action and it sounds like you are doing that also.

Now you've been putting this into action. What is it looking like on the ground?

[00:35:11] Dr. Dana Suskind: Yeah so just to be clear, so we, if you go on parent nation.org, there are resources to bring. Parents together. The truth is that it. That is only one small part of really what needs to happen. Mo parents are so busy asking them to, and most don't view themselves as activists.

It's hard enough to be raising children, but we wanted to build resources that parents could come together and really. Start reflecting on the changes that they wanted to see in their community. Start reflecting on them as parents, as their collective identity. Because I think one of the issues is that because we've convinced PE parents, that this is a go it alone, that they don't see their larger identity, their larger power together.

And in the same way as the elderly think of the. as a collective. When you say parents usually think of themselves in sort of other aspects of their identity as opposed to, I can tell you I've been a pediatric doctor for longer than I'd like to admit, probably longer than you've been alive.

And And what I can tell you is that all parents love their kids. All parents just wanna give their children the best possible start. And if they start seeing each other as allies in this. Tough but incredibly wonderful journey of raising the next generation and see their collective whole. That maybe will start, seeing their collective power to push forward our nation to actually value them and support them.

So yes, so we have lots of resources on. The parent nation.org website. But I do wanna say there are a lot of incredible organizations out there. There's plus, which is really pushing forward for high quality child paid family and medical leave. There are many organizations pushing forward for, high quality childcare.

There's a whole lot. But what would be nice is to have a big umbrella so that their. Their power and their voice could be, concentrated. So yeah, that's what we

[00:37:30] Hunter: Absolutely. And I'm thinking about it and I'm thinking like, what, and parents we wanna, we wanna advocate for our kids.

For me, the thing, I care about a lot of issues, but when there was a shooting in a school, it's whoa, this is just unacceptable. I need to have at least my kids to, I need to. that my kids, it's safe for them to go to school. So I was out with my family protesting locally.

And so there, and I live a busy parent life, like running a business and all of these things, right? So there, it does take a lot. But I was trying to think of what is the least common denominator in a lot of ways we could all agree on? Cuz it's not that issue, but it's like, It's, something like a child credit, like cash, right?

Money that would ease the burden of a lot of the different things. Like I think everybody could agree on that. That would be such a great starting point to say yes, like paid family medical leave. Like we should all be able to have that. We should all be able to, cuz you tell the story of Yeah, you tell a story of a couple people, this effects, but yeah, that could be a rallying cry to to bring people down it feels it's, it feels so basic. These are, these,

[00:38:49] Dr. Dana Suskind: these are such basic things, but that's why like an organization that did some of the heavy lifting, I think is so important because as you say, people are, we are so ev parents, especially parents of young children are so busy, right? And then children grow up but the needs of families doesn't.

And But yeah, I think that we just need to reframe, reframing the narrative is gonna be a critical part of this. Because I do think despite what people say I think people know, right? I think people in government know, in business know everybody knows this is a major issue.

They just don't feel that accountable, right? , right? They haven't been paying a price even though. They know it's an issue and that's why I think parents and caregivers coming together and. Look, we may not, we may have very different views on how to raise our children. And let me emphasize, there are many ways to successfully raise a child.

There's only one way to build that brain nurturing talk and NRA action. But the truth is just like in childcare, right? Or school, you can do Montessori, you can do this, you can do that, and your children are gonna be fine. But there's some key active ingredients that all children need, and that's what we're talking about.

But there are many. Ways. And I think that if we can see our commonality, our universal love for our children and wanting the best for them and wanting a strong country, I think that's what we can agree on. And I would want us to anchor on.

[00:40:31] Hunter: And we should be able to do this, like dear listener, right?

If there's anything we're good at, we can hold them accountable. We can, we're good at holding people accountable. At least we are for their kids, right? Like we need to. The people in power accountable. This is this is so amazing. And I think this is such an important conversation because like I said, I've been holding that caveat for years and years about, there's only so much you can do if you have such high levels of stress in your life, and so little support.

And we really need this. And I love that this is leading the way and in helping us to see it. Is there is there anything that we missed that, we wanna leave the listener with Dana? Yeah,

[00:41:15] Dr. Dana Suskind: I think circling back to Mindful, Mama mindfulness is absolutely critical. And I think the reframing of sort of Parenting and your role.

You're a guard, the guardian of our country's future. And when you're feeling some of the stress and understanding that, . A lot of it is because of the context that of your society can, in some ways, I hope, relieve the burden, right? Because this is not a failure on your part. This is a failure on our society to understand how important your role is and going back, give yourself grace, right?

As I wanna say over and over again, there is good. Parenting, right? My, my children are, as I mentioned, almost grown and flown in college and out in the real world, and. It's about the overarching trajectory. There have been plenty of times when I wasn't so Mindful and my kids turned out okay.

So give yourself grace. Me too . Absolutely. So with that, I am just really so thankful to have been on this show. What you're doing is so important and yeah, we have a better. Society next year.

[00:42:35] Hunter: So here's to that. Thank you so much Dana. Thank you for, I'm in awe of you. You're a please cochlear implant doctor.

You're, you have three biological kids, five step kids, you have eight kids all together. You have a busy life, and yet your dedication to everybody. Wellbeing and everybody's kids and it I'm honestly very moved by it and I really wanna thank you for doing the work that you.

[00:43:10] Dr. Dana Suskind: No I'm so thankful. Thank you for having me.

[00:43:19] Hunter: I hope you enjoyed this episode. I think it's so important. I'm so glad Dr. Suskind could talk to me, felt so honored, and I hope you got a lot out of it. And if you did, please do leave a review on Apple Podcast. We've gotten some amazing reviews. I wanna just, Shout out to Queen Z who gave a five star review saying, I love this podcast.

I love the book. Just one stressed Mama, trying to be better herself with all the resources available to me. You have no idea how glad I am to have found this resource, and I'm so glad you put it out there for us to enjoy being a mom a little bit more and having the connection we crave with our kids.

Thank you so much, Queenie. I appreciate your review so much. If. Want to leave a review, dear listener, please do just helps the podcast grow more and I'd love to hear your feedback on this episode. If you do anything in Instagram, tag me at Mindful Mama mentor, let me know. Share it in your Instagram stories and then tag me, and then I'd love your feedback.

Are you enjoying it? Let me know and I'm wishing you a great week. We are in a new year. It is a new beginning. It is winter here in the Northern hemisphere, summer in southern hemisphere, but it's a time of new beginnings of setting our intentions and beginning a new in whatever. Our goals and heartfelt wishes are for the world.

So I'm with you there. I'll be doing that with you, and I hope this is an awesome year of growth and healing and joyful moments and peaceful moments for all of us. May it be. So I wave my magic wand now to make it all right, it's all taken care of now. Nothing to worry about. If you do listen to some more podcasts, we will be back next week with mindfulness for busy parents with Shonda Morales and.

So many awesome episodes this year. We are so excited on the podcast team about this year and all the awesome guests we're gonna have on this year. And my next book is coming out this year. Yay. Raising Good Humans Every Day. I'm so excited about it. If you wanna have a book event somewhere in your area, let us know.

Maybe we can do that. That would be awesome. It's coming out in September, that's when it's coming out and yeah, I'm, it's January. You might be overwhelmed from the holidays, or maybe anytime in the future. So hello future people. But listen, wherever you are, it's okay. It's okay to be tired.

If you're tired, give yourself rest if you need rest. And then when you're ready, begin anew. It's a time to begin anew. We don't always have to be on. We don't have to be perfect. We don't always have to get everything right. We're allowed to rest. You are allowed to rest. You're allowed to take it.

And not go full on all the time. Okay. And beginning a new can be a gentle process of just what is my North Star and what next steps can I take? 26. I'll be doing that with you. Thank you so much for listening. I'm wishing you a beautiful week, a beautiful year, and I'm so glad we've been able to connect.

Thank you. Thank you. Talk to you soon. Namaste.

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