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Episode 40- Shaping the Future of Motherhood with Susie Fishleder

Updated: 4 days ago

Woman Smiling
Susie Fishleder with IAMAS


Welcome to the "Wellness in Every Season" podcast, where we embark on a transformative journey towards achieving total wellness, even in the midst of overwhelming moments. I'm your host, Autumn Carter, and I'm thrilled to have you here.

This podcast is a sanctuary for all mothers out there, and we extend a warm invitation to anyone seeking guidance and inspiration. We believe in fostering an inclusive community where we learn and grow together, supporting each other during life's challenging transitions.

Join us as we step out of survival mode and discover the path to thriving, embracing wellness in every season of motherhood. From sleepless nights to new beginnings, we'll explore practical strategies, share heartfelt stories, and uncover the transformative power of self-care and self-love.

Together, we'll unlock the wisdom, strength, and resilience within ourselves, reminding one another that we're never alone on this beautiful, yet demanding, journey. It's time to prioritize your well-being and reclaim your joy, one season at a time.


Autumn Carter: This is episode 40 of Wellness in Every Season, and today I have Susie Fishledger, she is a board member of IAMAS, which is the International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship. I found their organization on Instagram and started looking through all their stuff, and I really like what they are about, so I am so glad that she is with us today, and I will let her further introduce herself.

Susie Fishleder: Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here to represent I am us. Like you said, I am a board member. We have a really great board and steering committee of fantastic scholars and people around the world who help contribute to this nonprofit organization. So I am us, like you said, it's the international association of maternal action and scholarship.

Susie Fishleder: So we began out of a different organization about 25 years ago. It was an academic organization, really supporting those in academia, whose area of focus is in motherhood studies. Which isn't really a commonly recognized field, there's no area that motherhood studies falls under, it falls under everything.

Susie Fishleder: But we've since expanded beyond academia to really connect scholars, artists, writers, activists, anyone around the world who wants to help mothers be their best selves and connect them with that really supportive and proactive community that we all need.

Autumn Carter: And why is this necessary? Why do we need it as women and mothers?

Susie Fishleder: I'll start off with our vision. Our official vision is IAMAS visions, a world in which all mothers are supported by their families. Communities, businesses and governments via a cultural belief that mothering and mothers matter as well as and through strongly funded research that aids in the implementation of policies that help mothers thrive.

Susie Fishleder: Motherhood, we all come from a mother. Motherhood is something that is very universal, but it's not supported by our public policies. It's not supported by our systems. I'm living in the United States. And so for your listeners who are in the U. S., we're all very familiar that we are one of the very few countries that has zero paid maternity leave policy.

Susie Fishleder: There's just so much work out there to be done to recognize the work that mothers are doing in child care, in housework the emotional labor of raising children. And it's all unpaid. It's all underappreciated. So IMOS really strives to help those who are doing the work themselves as mothers.

Susie Fishleder: And also to support those who are supporting those mothers to give them the resources they need to go back to the universities or go back to their organizations to help say, Hey, we need to make this world better and safer and more supportive of mothers and their children in general.

Autumn Carter: So what led you to join them?

Susie Fishleder: I joined IAMAS in 2021. I was getting my master's degree in women, gender, spirituality, and social justice from the California Institute of Integral Studies. And I wanted to study motherhood. The reason I got into my master's degree was I had left my career to, be with my three children and support my husband.

Susie Fishleder: And that felt like a really authentic choice at the time. My three children were, I think, three, five and eight. And it just felt like the right thing to do. But as soon as I left my career, I had this really crushing loss of identity. I built up this identity of myself as this very successful working mother who loved her job, who was good at it, and had kids.

Susie Fishleder: So when I left that part behind, it was like, who am I? And I really struggled with that for some time. And so I started thinking, I am doing something really fundamental to the continuation of the human race by mothering my children. Like, why do I feel crappy about it? So I started reading and researching and I really felt like I needed to have a more formal degree of study.

Susie Fishleder: So I joined this program to study motherhood. I didn't even know that was a thing that you could study at the time. So my area of research was really how these cultural systems that we have, sexism and racism and classism, how these bigger systems shape our experience of motherhood. And then how that affects individual mothers, because I just wanted to answer the question for myself.

Susie Fishleder: Why did I feel crappy when I left my job to become a mom? And I was having this cognitive dissonance. I love that. I love being a mom. I loved it. I love being home with my kids. But I still felt like I was invisible and my world was so small. I'm sure this, you hear this all the time from your clients, but that loss of identity was just really shattering to my ego and my sense of self.

Susie Fishleder: So here I am informally studying motherhood. And again, I feel like, why is nobody else talking about this? Like you can get a degree in English, you can get a degree in history, you can get a degree in all these things. Why can't you? You get a degree in motherhood. And then I found IMS and it was like, Oh my gosh, I'm home, right?

Susie Fishleder: Here is this amazing group of people who they helped me stay focused. They all were studying motherhood in different realms. Some weren't studying motherhood, but they were mothers in academia. And so it felt we have weekly writing groups and we have reading groups and we have our annual conference and this whole organization just existed to support.

Susie Fishleder: Someone like me, a mother in academia, studying motherhood. And it's just, it's an incredible organization, right? It's so that was two years ago that I found them. And then I just had to become involved. So now here I am on the board and I feel really lucky to be here.

Autumn Carter: I have clients that. Go through those exact same things, but it's even more personal. I had nightmares for years, several years after our first was born because I worked full time since I was in high school.

Autumn Carter: I had a paying job since I was in 8th grade that was so much my identity. And then suddenly becoming a stay at home mom, maybe not so suddenly, I had 9 months to prepare. So there was a lot of identity there. Suddenly having it change, it was postpartum depression, but more, and you verbalized it so well, exactly what I was going through, and Yes, so many clients have gone through it too, but for me, it hits very much at home.

Susie Fishleder: Yeah, I think a lot of people do go through that, and we don't talk about it.

Susie Fishleder: We don't give enough space to it in society to really talk about that identity loss and how important it is. And I think we're very quick to pathologize it and diagnose it as depression and I was also diagnosed with postpartum depression and began medication after two of my children, two separate occasions.

Susie Fishleder: So I am absolutely here for the maternal mental health system. But sometimes I wonder, had they asked me. Maybe more questions about my life because the first time I was diagnosed was my second child was 10 months postpartum. So I'm going to that breastfeeding hormonal shift 10 months in, and I had a two and a half year old and I was working full time and I was 10 months sleep deprived and probably totally malnourished.

Susie Fishleder: And I just wonder, had someone stopped to take a look at the whole picture of my mothering? would depression have been the first response? And I don't know. And I don't, we don't need to go there, but it's such a bigger, complex, nuanced conversation, I think.

Autumn Carter: That is what I love about having my focus in coaching be towards mothers because we are forgotten so much.

Autumn Carter: We forget ourselves even, let's be honest. It's not just other people forgetting us. And one thing that I love about where my husband currently works is they have paternity leave. We no longer need it. We are so done having kids. We have four. I'm good. That's plenty. I'm done. Close that chapter. Excellent. The place he worked at before that helped move us out here, they did not have paternity leave. And when my husband was fighting for it, they're like, here, we'll give you more money, but you can't take the time off.

Autumn Carter: We don't need the money. I need the time. I don't care about the money right now. Yes, it's great. Yes, we did need it. But I needed space to recover, because you were basically run over. Backed up, run over again. And then suddenly you're having to take care of a newborn while you're also recovering from being basically run over.

Autumn Carter: That's what it felt like. Everything in my body hurt. And then I'm still having a nurse and that hurts. Yes. Little hoovers. Anyway, so it shows how much further we are behind than European countries that it's a struggle to even have paternity leave. Some don't even have maternity leave. You can get it legally without pay.

Autumn Carter: That's so helpful.

Susie Fishleder: That's so helpful. And yeah, with that, it's not even a leave. It's they just can't fire you. That's the best we've got. So yeah. Yeah. That's

Autumn Carter: horrible. My next question is what specific experiences or motivations influenced your decision to pursue this

Susie Fishleder: profession?

Susie Fishleder: So I'll talk a little bit about. IAMAS in general and how we support the people that we support, both our members and then in the larger community we are, we consider ourselves a scholar, activists, interdisciplinary nonprofit organization, and we're designed to promote empowered mothering via research on an advocacy for mothers, because like we were just talking about mothers, our culture to be selfless, meaning there's not even a self.

Susie Fishleder: To take care of. So the mothers aren't physically or, emotionally capable of advocating for themselves, organizations like I am us exist so that we can advocate and research on mother's behalf because it's exhausting. And we know the motherhood is hard. We know that's always been hard.

Susie Fishleder: And it's always going to be hard, but it feels really hard right now. Our work is rooted in this belief that. Mothers who are supported by their family, by government, by their businesses, communities, those mothers thrive. Which then means children thrive, which then mean our communities thrive, which then mean employees like it all works right we put the mother at the center and everything comes out from there.

Autumn Carter: Can you make that more personal with an example because I'm starting to see the picture but it's still a little fuzzy.

Susie Fishleder: I'm going to jump ahead to like, where the question you asked about shaping me as a mother and influencing your perspectives. One of the most helpful things I've learned was that distinguishing between mothering as an activity and motherhood as an institution. And this is something that has is 1 of our core beliefs and it's 1 of the things that we help. And support them in.

Susie Fishleder: It's this idea that, when I'm thinking about all of my favorite parts of being a mom, it falls under mothering, right? I love it when I'm watching my kids play and I hear them laugh. I love teaching them our values as a family. I love cuddling them during family movie nights. And, I don't want to be, like, naive and unrealistic.

Susie Fishleder: There are also parts of mothering that are really hard when you have a toddler who's throwing their cup of orange juice across the room, right? Or... If my boys are fighting and I'm getting triggered by them, like these are, there are very challenging parts of mothering as well. But the activity of mothering, I find purpose and meaning and to be really valuable part of my life.

Susie Fishleder: And I know it's helping me be a better person, like learning how to be more patient. And it's, I can see that it's shaping my children, but there are parts about the institution of motherhood. That I don't like, and having this distinction is really critical. So I think about motherhood as the guilt and shame that I feel when I feel like I'm not measuring up to some impossible standard, right?

Susie Fishleder: Or when I'm frustrated about the kind of endless, repetitive tasks of laundry and dishes and housework because I'm doing it in isolation in my own home, in my own nuclear family. And we're all like. In our own homes, doing the same tasks over and over again, all by ourselves. And sometimes I feel like I've sacrificed my career and my body and my mental health because I became a mother.

Susie Fishleder: And this aspect of it falls into the institution of motherhood that is shaped by society. And it's like this cultural institution that we've created that says You know, motherhood is this experience that exploits women and, requires them to provide unpaid care and it's manipulative and it's unfair.

Susie Fishleder: And you have systems like patriarchy and white supremacy and capitalism all enforcing this idea of motherhood that creates. The experience of individual mothering and makes it really hard. So mothering falls within the institution of motherhood and mothering can be awesome. And motherhood can be oppressive.

Susie Fishleder: It's when you hear people feel and say things like, I love my kids, but I hate being a mom. They hate motherhood. They hate that institution that expects. unrealistic and impossible things from them. Have you

Autumn Carter: heard of the fair play method? Oh,

Susie Fishleder: sure. Okay. Ibradsky, right? Huh. Yeah. I

Autumn Carter: love her stuff. In my degree, there are a lot of studies that even women who make more than their husbands and work the same amount of hours or work the same amount of hours and is equal pay, they still do more at home than their significant other does.

Autumn Carter: That's huge. That shows how much it is ingrained in us that we have to still be doing all the tasks as if we were a stay at home mom, even if we're not. And, with us being a stay at home mom, our significant other, if they're working outside the home, they get to clock in and clock out.

Autumn Carter: When do stay at home moms get to clock in and clock out? I really like that there's a lot of space for fair play and all the others that are out there because It's not balanced at all.

Susie Fishleder: No, it's not balanced at all. And I think we saw this a lot in the pandemic when it was very clear that women were leaving the workforce.

Susie Fishleder: And I found it really interesting at the time, the headlines were all women leaving the workforce and women doing this. And I wanted to be like, Shaking editors. It's mothers. Mothers are leaving the workforce, and I'm sure other people had to leave the workforce to care for relatives and themselves and other members of the family.

Susie Fishleder: But it was primarily because the schools shut down. Our children were at home. Someone had to be at home to take care of them and to make sure that they were logging into their classes on time and. Provide food endless amounts of food and snacks. And oh my gosh, why did they eat so much during the pandemic?

Susie Fishleder: Like they just never stopped. So I think, the pandemic was really this wake up call. It was, oh, wow. We have depended on. Social systems like the public school system to help care for our children, and when that one thing is gone, there's nothing else, there's no backup, there's no safety net, and so mothers took on an overwhelming amount of the burden, and that's just been studied and shown.

Autumn Carter: I'm so glad that you mentioned the pandemic because I was, that was where I was going next is something needs to happen and we have shown a light on it through the pandemic. But not enough is being done, not anywhere near enough. And I think what you're saying with women leaving the workforce during that time, it's not just mothers, because some women it was My family member has COVID, and , they need care, and the medical system in general, was so overwhelmed. And in some cases it still is, so that is definitely important to bring up that we are so looked over until we're not, and then when we aren't looked over, the reasons don't come to light of why this is happening.

Susie Fishleder: It's important to remember too that we didn't, mothers didn't have a universal experience in the pandemic, right? I'm speaking as like a cisgender, white, hetero woman, I married, I mean I had a lot of resources at my behalf so I was able to Be home with my children and help them log into the computers.

Susie Fishleder: I had access to that, but countless women, especially women who were working those essential labor jobs, they didn't have that option. They had to keep going to work. They were essential to the community. And of course, those were the lower paying jobs. So those people were less likely to have insurance.

Susie Fishleder: They were less likely to have. Safe and affordable child care readily accessible to them, especially when all those child care centers shut down, you have health systems that were under a enormous amount of duress, like you just mentioned and that helps really expose the social and racial inequities that our health system continues to have, throughout the country.

Susie Fishleder: And so when we talk about these systems that affect motherhood, taking that intersectional approach and lens and remembering that there is not that one universal experience and so many different ways in which mothers are oppressed is helpful. It's just a helpful thing to keep in mind as we continue to have these conversations so that we continue to include everyone.

Susie Fishleder: And as we try to change these systems and take them down and replace them with something better, I think, is important.

Autumn Carter: And this goes back to what you're saying that if mothers are treated appropriately and we have the resources that we need, children were getting the wrong end of the stick, so to speak, using really old terms. Children were affected very negatively because suddenly. They were home alone having to make their own meals and totally take care of themselves and log in and log out for school. And that was once the infrastructure was finally put in place for them to get a computer or everything else.

Susie Fishleder: Our organization really exists to support, universities and companies and governments and create the knowledge and the resources available so that they can help put programs into place themselves.

Susie Fishleder: We're not providing a template for this is what you should do because there is no universal experience. There is no one size fits all solution that's going to support all the mothers. I can think of a few that would be a good starting point, but we're trying to come from a place of education and advocacy and support so that there's a little bit of ownership in some organizations so that they can say, you know what you're right. We do need to do better by our mothers. Where can we go for resources on this? And we are one of the many organizations that are offering some ideas.

Autumn Carter: Having them have their own ownership also makes it so that they can tailor it and so it's authentic to them, which means it's more likely to last. I really like that. That is so important.

Susie Fishleder: We have at our annual conference that we do every year, we do what we call the MOMA Award. And the MOMA stands for Making Opportunities for Mothers in Academia. And we offer this award, we recognize colleges and universities that are brainstorming and initiating and supporting programs on campuses that help retain faculty who are also parenting young children. So the MoMA award program really acknowledges the hard work that is being done. We say, Hey, we see you. Thank you for doing this. We offer the award on the university level for a faculty change maker or for a student change maker.

Susie Fishleder: We say, we see you. Thank you. Congratulations. Let's honor you and support you. And then spread the work around so we can. Showcase your work to other universities and institutions so that they can take inspiration for what it is.

Autumn Carter: You wrote an interesting fact about you about a 2024 conference theme. Can you tell us about that?

Susie Fishleder: So the conference that we put on we have a conference coming up in June, 2024.

Susie Fishleder: We do it every year. This next year is going to be in Boston. And I think what's really cool about the conference is how special and unique it is. We try and have it be a model of how to welcome a whole person into the professional space. We're an organization that says let's support mothers.

Susie Fishleder: So our number one priority is supporting mothers, which means our conference is held both in person in Boston, but it's also held virtually. So if you can't travel because you have young children, or if you have, neurodivergence or any number of issues that would maybe not allow you to travel to Boston, you can attend every panel, every round table discussion.

Susie Fishleder: Nearly everything that we are able to do at the conference is done virtually. And then also the space that we have for the conference is very deliberately child friendly, nursing parent friendly. We think it makes a really powerful statement when a woman with a PhD can give this fantastically brilliant talk with a toddler in her arms.

Susie Fishleder: Or even better yet, that she can count on the 20 women in the room to care for that child while she's giving her talk, right? We want to do it all, and so we should be welcome to do everything that we want to do. And there's also no shame in calling on the village for help. So that is, the conference itself serves as a model for the personal being political, and our personal, as mothers.

Susie Fishleder: Kind of stands against the ideal worker. So how could you create a space where the mother is welcome as a whole person, including her child? Shocking. I know. So that's the conference.

Autumn Carter: When I started voting for different people on the board of education, I looked for parents, others, but parents because They are there in the thick of it.

Autumn Carter: They have a better understanding of what kids need. There's a lot to be said about hiring a parent, about having a parent be on a board because they have a unique and a very important perspective.

Susie Fishleder: This is both personal and from IAMAS. I think I struggle sometimes in wanting to elevate motherhood. How do I talk about mothering that elevates the mother and the whole person without romanticizing it to the point that I'm saying, like women's places in the home, right?

Susie Fishleder: I don't want to enforce this sort of the cult of domesticity. I want to elevate and empower mothers and recognize that they have this important and create creative role and opportunity to find passion and purpose within themselves. But also recognize that we need Women and mothers and parents in the boardrooms, we need them at all levels of leadership, politically, in businesses, in schools, sitting around that conference table, making decisions about the future of our country, parents need to be there, right?

Susie Fishleder: So there's this balance of, yes, motherhood is important. And we also have to be out there advocating for families and for children.

Autumn Carter: Let's bring it home a little bit. Why do women need to be in those places?

Susie Fishleder: The decisions that are being made in those rooms, if they're being made by a population that is not representative of our population at whole, oftentimes those decisions, whether they are public policy or a company's leave policies. Educational policies. If those decisions are being made without everyone at the table, then people are being left out. And that's why we don't have a maternity leave policy.

Susie Fishleder: I am very confident that if we have ever had a mother as president or heck, even a woman as president, perhaps our country would have had a maternal leave policy up to this point. But up to this point, the decisions were being made by people who were parents perhaps, but didn't have The needs of mothers forefront in their mind, if that makes sense.

Autumn Carter: Moms really know how to juggle lots of things, how to really schedule things out and there's so many skills that as moms we did not have before parenthood. Or maybe we had, but they have really sink or swim, you've really had to figure it out. Yeah, and you've had to perfect these skills.

Autumn Carter: And these skills are so great to have in the boardroom, in companies. Oh yeah. You might think that when you're writing your resume, I don't have anything to put on my resume because I've been a stay at home mom. Oh no. Think about all the coordination for different things that you've had to do, all the planning, everything.

Autumn Carter: You have Conceptualize something and gone from that to fully completing it. That is huge, and most companies are looking for someone like that. And if they aren't, they should be, because that's what their problem is.

Susie Fishleder: We went to Disney World as a family last year for the first time, and I had a spreadsheet, and I had the app downloaded on my phone, and I feel like I...

Susie Fishleder: And I was joking about this. I'm like, I feel like I executed this trip with like military level precision down to the moment I knew where we were going to eat. Because you cannot just walk into, Disney world and not have a plan for food when you have three children, someone's going to be hungry every five minutes.

Susie Fishleder: So where are we going to eat? So it doesn't cost us a gazillion dollars. What rides are we going to go on? What rides can the littlest go on? What rides can the big kid go on? What rides do I need to make sure I reserve in advance? This is maybe a silly example, but I have done that with Christmas, with birthdays, with, birthday parties.

Susie Fishleder: I served as a member of our PTA organization for the last two years, all of the events that we put on to raise funds for the school and to provide social opportunities for the kids. There's countless things that I have done and skills that I've honed as a mother over the years that it's, it is frustrating that I feel like, how can I emphasize that?

Susie Fishleder: Because they're valuable and they're needed. And going back to our point about why is it important that moms are at the table? Because if a mom is in charge of hiring, she knows she gets it. That person recognizes how important the role of motherhood is. And the skills that are associated with that. That's why we need moms in all levels.

Autumn Carter: And there's data that having more workers working from home has actually been beneficial in most cases. Because suddenly the significant other can help out more, like there's more harmony in the home. Women can work from home and juggle things a little bit better from home.

Susie Fishleder: Our country has this sort of outdated, 40, 40 hour work week, Monday through Friday, 8 to 5, that's it.

Susie Fishleder: That's just, I can't work 8 to 5. My kids get on the bus, it's 7. 53. I can't be in an office magically in 7 minutes. And then they're done with school. 245, who's going to provide care for them for the next two hours of the day, three hours of the day. So when we shackle ourselves to this idea of what work means and this definition of work, we really limit and we lose out on some potentially amazing people because, from the hours of eight to 245, I'm available and I'm pretty awesome, but there's no companies who are hiring for that, so it does get frustrating.

Susie Fishleder: Yeah. Yeah.

Autumn Carter: I think it's 32 hours in the state of Maryland where I live to be considered full time. It makes it a little bit harder when you're also trying to have insurance for your family when you have to work those hours. And the thing is, I know so many employees that they will make sure that they get their 40 hours, but they're not doing 40 hours worth of work.

Autumn Carter: No. And a mom could shove it in there. Yeah. You can work as if she was working 60 hours. Yes. But do it in 25 hours.

Susie Fishleder: Time to mess around. I don't have time to play on Facebook or Minecraft or, is it Minecraft? Minesweeper. What did we used to have?

Susie Fishleder: Solitaire. I'm so dating myself

Autumn Carter: right now. Minecraft is what I can do, so I'm like, yeah, it's that one. Minecraft is my world now too, but used to Solitaire and Minesweeper. I remember that.

Susie Fishleder: Yes. For the younger generation, these were very old games on our computer that we used to play at work when we were supposed to be working.

Susie Fishleder: But I don't have time for that stuff right now. I've got stuff to do. And this goes back to the earlier conversation about the systems that affect motherhood. It's really easy for individual moms to get down on themselves. Like I don't feel like I'm making a contribution because I can't find a job because no one will hire me and I'm frustrated because I'm at home and I'm isolated because I don't have co workers or I don't have friends to go out to lunch with.

Susie Fishleder: And so it's really easy to get down on yourself as an individual person. But when we take a step back and we look at all of the systems and policies that have created these 40 hour work week rules, but then the rules of the schools are only from eight to 245 and, 32 hour work week for insurance, but. If you're going to have someone else's insurance, you have to be married to them . You used to not be able to marry somebody unless you were in a same sex couple, right? So there are these policies and institutions that have affected our very day to day realities of what it means to be a mother. And it's hard to sometimes step out of your own personal experience to see that, to see this institution that's shaping it.

Susie Fishleder: So we take it personally, and it makes us feel like less than. Or goes back to that identity loss that we talked about. It's all about addressing the systems that shape motherhood in the first place, and making them better, and making them more mother friendly.

Autumn Carter: Is there anything else that you want to touch on that you feel is super important before you start telling us on all the ways to follow you and IAMAS?

Susie Fishleder: I am also seven core beliefs, and this just sums up everything. Maybe we should have started with this, but this is a great way to sum it all up. At a high level, number one, we believe that women carry an unfair burden of child rearing via the demands of intensive mothering. Inequitable expectations concerning emotional labor, and there are outdated gender norms regarding care work.

Susie Fishleder: A lot goes into that. We believe that our governments and economic sectors should contribute more to the work and cost of child rearing, specifically via child care and family leave reform, so that way we can acknowledge that work, care work is done not only as a matter of personal choice, but it is labor.

Susie Fishleder: It is work that we do that strengthens the future of our civic and economic vitality. We believe that mothers should be better informed and organized in order to demand the substantial support that is required. Truly, the current setup of dual low wage working families and single parent income families, it's unsustainable.

Susie Fishleder: We can't keep going like this. So we need to have more knowledge and more information so that we can demand the support that we need. We believe that one's gender and sex organs aren't always the same, but we do need to talk about how mothers and those who are doing the work of mothering have different needs and need different protections.

Susie Fishleder: And we need legal protections, economic protections, social protections, and we support and welcome all who identify as mothers, all who do the work of mothering and want to advocate for mothers. We believe that motherhood can and should be a place of empowerment. Not oppression, but our countries and employees require women to replace our population.

Susie Fishleder: So let's claim the power in that, right? There is power in that. We can't run without mothers. We know that everybody knows that. So mothers can claim the power and support in that. And then children need stable care. Mothers should have the opportunity to provide that care in whatever shape it comes in.

Susie Fishleder: And then lastly, mothers need the support so that they can mother effectively and be economically independent. And I feel like we have this choice regarding opting out of work, and it's really, it's an illusion. It can harm economically strained families, it can create massive drain of resources, and that our countries and businesses need to have this so that our country can succeed.

Susie Fishleder: Those are some of our core beliefs as an organization.

Autumn Carter: Whoever helped put that together, mic drop. That was amazing. It was so good. I really like the last part. There's so many parts that I could touch on, but for time sake, the thought that there is a choice as to whether you can be a stay at home mom or not, in most cases, there isn't.

Autumn Carter: It's is the cost of child care versus how much I make a year. What's the balance there? When you have the scale and you have the calculator out which is more economical? And that is so painful. I have spoken to so many mothers who have so much guilt about they want to be a stay at home mom.

Autumn Carter: They know that they could do a better job than where they're sending their kids to, but it's what they could afford to send them to while also working, and it's just... And how many moms have to work more than one job just to make ends meet for their family so they have these kids that are blessed with these children that they don't get enough time with because of the way that policies are. So I really like that. How can we find you and how can we find IAMAS?

Susie Fishleder: So And from there you can find all of us. We are primarily active on Facebook, sometimes active on Instagram, active on LinkedIn.

Susie Fishleder: Those are our main platforms. We, like I said, we have a conference coming up. We do in every year. Next year is in June 2024. It'll be in Boston. Registration is now open for that conference so people can find us. You can become a member to support our work. You can come to the conference, which would be amazing.

Susie Fishleder: And yeah, let's just continue to help more moms thrive by fostering these conversations and break down the barriers for all moms.

Autumn Carter: Thank you for being on. And then if anybody wants to follow you personally, are you open for that?

Susie Fishleder: So personally, my website is Susie Fishleader.

Susie Fishleder: S U S I E F I S H L E D E R. Com. I am really active on Instagram, probably far too active on Instagram. So that's Susie. fishleader. I like to post funny memes about what it means to be a mother in today's society so that we can laugh. Through our tears. (She now has a podcast you can listen to here.)

Autumn Carter: I love when I follow accounts like that, even on my business page, because I love stuff like that.

Autumn Carter: Thank you so much for being on with us today.

Susie Fishleder: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

On the next episode of "Wellness in Every Season," we're going to delve into the heart of what makes our family connections meaningful—our traditions. We'll take a closer look at the rituals that define our shared experiences and discuss the importance of regularly auditing these practices to ensure they still serve their purpose. As we sift through the layers of our most cherished customs, we'll discover ways to reinvigorate the ties that bind us. Be sure to join us for a deep dive into the significance of family traditions and how they can be lovingly curated to strengthen our bonds. It's an episode for anyone eager to nurture the roots of their family tree and grow closer through the beauty of shared rituals.


Thank you for joining us on this week's refreshing wellness discussion. I'm Autumn Carter, your guide through the seasons of motherhood, and I hope you found inspiration and valuable insights during our time together.

If you resonate with the topics we explored today and want to continue your wellness journey, I invite you to follow me on Instagram at Moms Wellness in Every Season. There, you'll discover a wealth of ongoing wellness tips specifically curated for moms like you.

Sharing our podcast with others is an act of caring, and I invite you to spread the word by sharing, subscribing, and leaving a review wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Your support is deeply valuable to us and enables us to reach more mothers who are seeking transformation and empowerment.

If you have a specific topic you'd like us to cover in more detail or if you're interested in a free coaching consultation, don't hesitate to reach out. You can send me a direct message on Instagram or visit my website,, to send an email. I'm here to support you on your wellness journey.

Thank you again for being a part of our vibrant community. I'm genuinely excited to connect with you, hear your stories, and continue this important discussion in the weeks to come.

Until next time, remember to prioritize your well-being, embrace every season with grace, and always strive for wellness in every aspect of your motherhood journey. Take care, and I can't wait to catch up with you soon.




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