[Episode 14] Mother's Day Special

La Petite Creme founders (Cecile and Fanny) and Dr. Varisa Perlman are notorious for taking predicted topics and giving them a whole different angle.

Episode #14 of Moms Talk with a French Accent is no exception. In this Mother's Day Special, Fanny and Cecile share how Mother's Day celebrations differ in France and the US and how these differences shape their own personal view on what Mother's Day means.

(full text transcript below the video)

 

Moms Talk with Dr. Varisa Perlman [Episode #14]: Mother's Day Special

Cecile: Hi! Bonjour!

Fanny: Hello, hello!

Cecile: This is Cecile from La Petite Creme.

Fanny: And Fanny.

Cecile: And we are here today in Episode #14 of Moms Talk with a French Accent.

Fanny: Yep.

Cecile: And today's topic is about-

Fanny: Mother's Day.

Cecile: Mother's Day that's coming up. Hi!

Fanny: Hi, everyone!

Cecile: Hello, hello! Hello.

Fanny: Hi, Hailey.

Cecile: Hi, Hailey. Hi, Salome. And while we are waiting for—Hi, Varisa.

Fanny: Hi, Varisa.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Hi, how are you?

Fanny: We're good.

Cecile: Good.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs] A new angle. I have a new— the lighting.

Cecile: Oh, you're glowing. You look fantastic. We're loving it.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs] You guys were the first. You had it all worked out, so I'm working it to the ring—

Cecile: Yeah, it works. It's efficient.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Thank you. Yes, happy Mother's Day.

Cecile: Yes, happy early Mother's Day because we are about a few days ahead of the game for the celebration, but I think every day deserves to be a celebration of mothers.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Absolutely.

Cecile: We were just saying that we are on Episode #14. We are celebrating Mother's Day today. For anybody who has seen any of the previous episodes, we take a topic that seems pretty obvious and we end up talking about it in a very different way. So don't expect any real celebration per se or any gift ideas. That's not what we do here. We just take a topic and shake it, shake it, shake it, and disperse it to the universe, and try to see if it's branched out to different things out there.

So, I'm Cecile.

Fanny: I'm Fanny.

Cecile: We are the co-founders of La Petite Creme. We do a French diapering lotion and organic diaper care for babies inspired by our French origin and French roots. And we have Varisa Perlman here. Varisa, do you want to introduce yourself?

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Hi, I'm Dr. Varisa Perlman. I'm a pediatrician of 25 years. And I have moved into a different space where I'm doing holistic health coaching. And these two beautiful ladies and their children were my patients. So I've joined La Petite Creme to just not get put into a box, to just talk a little bit about stuff that doesn't seem to fit so neatly into a box because life does not do that at all. [laughs]

I think that with along with your "Oohlala" shirts, I think you should also have like "Embrace the Chaos."

Cecile: Exactly.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: We want it in French, so it sounds even more mysterious. But I think that's a good way to describe motherhood in that way.

Cecile: Yes. And that's why we're here and that's what gathered all together is the mothering. So we love to talk about motherhood. All three of us are mothers of two kids of different age. And we love to take, as I was saying earlier, very common topics and give our own flavor to it. So today is Mother's Day, and as we were preparing for this talk, we were mentioning that in France, first, Mother's Day in France and in the US are not on the same day. Different countries celebrate it at different time.

And for us in France, we grew up celebrating Mother's Day by celebrating our own mother.

Fanny: And that's it.

Cecile: And that's it. So that would be the day where the kids would do a necklace or a song or whatever for their mom. And then you would call your mom or do something with your mother. But it's only when we moved here to the US that we realized that it was everyone who is a mother is celebrated that day.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah, that's a subtle thing. Even when you were describing it, I was like, "Yeah, I guess I never thought about how that was probably a very subtle difference." And I mean, I know that at least for me, my mother-in-law is wonderful with the cards. She's a big card person. I'm sure Hallmark doesn't mind that we celebrate everybody for Mother's Day. But I actually sent a card to a very good friend of mine who is obviously not my mother [laughs] but is a very good friend. I've sent cards to people who may not biologically have children of their own, but have always had maternal space to me.

And so I think that the United States really does seem to be able to broaden that idea. It's a nice idea.

Cecile: It's nice to look at it this way because as we were changing when we prepared this, we thought that yes, Mother's Day should be a celebration of motherhood. You have this Firefighter Day, or you have all those other heroes in life get their day of the year. It's fantastic that moms who are the master of superheroes have a day where they are recognized for the work that they do and for the impact they have on society overall.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes. And I think it's interesting. So, again, just to replay, we were going through different topics. If you don't mind, I'll throw the topic out and describe a little bit of what I was thinking as well. One of the things that I brought out was this idea of having a discussion about generational motherhood. It's a topic that people have very different feelings about it. And it's okay in one person to have conflicted feelings because there are some things, in a very blunt way, that we really enjoy that our mothers did for us. And there are things that we were like, "Eh, I may not repeat that," and we should be allowed to.

But what I don't think that we always understand is how much different generations interpret what motherhood means and how that can impact, whether make it easier of harder, or just more textured as to how we consider ourselves as mothers. And as you've broadened it, there's a lot of ways that we may act as mothers to the people who work for us or in our own companies. We always talk about La Petite Creme as being one of your babies.

Cecile: It is.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: So it's that kind of thing where like, how do we sift through all the different ways that we define motherhood and really tailor out what it means to us. And in that sense, when we do tailor it out, I think we serve our children and the people that really need us as their mothers the best. Does that make sense?

Cecile: It does. I'm curious to see what people who are listening are thinking here. So we have Suzanne, Leanne, hi, everybody, Caroline. Why don't you write maybe in the comments what you think when you think Mother's Day, if it's beyond the traditional getting a gift from your kids or the traditional—what we had back in France was the noodle necklace.

Fanny: Yes.

Cecile: Do you do that in the US, the noodle necklace? So beyond that, what would be the thing that you want to be recognized for or acknowledged on that day of mothers, What is it? So write that in the comments and then we can go through that.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And it's gonna change as you move through your life cycles. So in the beginning, you may—and we've talked about all the life cycles of our children, walking through that space as well, and how you serve as a mother to even your children and your generation completely, constantly changes. So really, that identity is not a static one. It's very much a fluid space, you know?

And the only reason why I think this is something that I talk about, because we occasionally like to poke the bear a little bit, just to poke at certain things-

Cecile: Why not? [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: -that people don't wanna talk about. I think one of the things that's very difficult when you're a mother is that, whether it be conscious or not, there's a lot of judgment that sometimes is placed on you. And a lot of times, that judgment does come from other generations where they're saying, "Well, as a mother, you should be doing this," right? "As a mother, you should not be doing this."

And again, I think trying to help, trying to give some guidance, maybe give some sense of direction or a path, but it can actually be very distracting and misleading for parents, for mothers particularly, and women who are trying to craft their own image of like, "How do I want to be as a mother?"

And again, it's not always a bad thing. There are some great things that can be carried over. But I think that we all have to be given permission to say, "But not everything. There are some things that just may not fit to how I want to be right now."

Cecile: Especially because you only know everything your mother taught you in terms of how to become your own mother when you become a mother. And I became a mom when I was 30 years old. So all my learning was when I was younger with my mom, and all of a sudden I'm put in that role and my master at showing me that gave me the skill for a long time, but I didn't realize it was a skill set I was actually learning until I needed it years later.

So it's also difficult to—because I feel that a lot when we remember the tip of the iceberg, like we remember the last few years before becoming parents, or even for kids, they remember what happened last week, they have a hard time remembering what they were doing when they were two months old.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah.

Cecile: But at the same time, the more I feel like I grew as a mother, the more I realized that my mom was teaching me stuff without me realizing it. And it's only when my mother come out when I talk that I'm like, "Oh my goodness." [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes. I mean, there's definitely some wiring there. There's definitely some wiring that is there. And I think that—listen, we all are raised by humans. We're not raised by computers. We're not raised by people from the future. And so all of us as mothers—people always say, "Hey, give that kid a break. It's their first time through life." And we always say, "Give that mom a break. That's the first time she's doing it too." So we all make good decisions and sometimes we make bad decisions. Sometimes there's great wiring. Sometimes there's really bad wiring.

And one of the things I say that I try to sneak it in every single talk is that adage that the children are born the way they are to heal the family. And sometimes we have to make peace with the idea that, yes, there are moments where I do something that I know is literally scripted from something that I heard my mom say or do, and I'm like, "Oh, yeah, that's there. That's great. There is some wiring there." But there's some times I have that response and I'm like, "Ah, I always promised myself I would not do this to my kids." And you're like, "Ugh." And you just realize that that is the texture. That's okay. That is okay to say, "Hey, I like this part. I don't like this part."

Cecile: It could also be a way to rewrite the past. It happens sometimes that having that same instinct of just repeating what we've seen when we were younger and saying it out loud and have that moment of like, "Oh, wait a minute," can either come out as, "Well, now I understand where she was coming from. And yes, I was very against it, but now that I'm in her shoes, I'm about to give her credit for that even though I didn't like it when I was on the kid's side."

Also, you can reprogram that with your own kid and feel like, "Okay, this is how I'm transitioning to not doing that anymore," and it piece the past, I feel.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes. I think you make a really good point. I think that one of the gifts that you can give to your children on Mother's Day is to be gracious with yourself, to be okay that you're going to say, "Hey, this part I'm going to mess up a little bit. I know I'm going to mess up. And I'm going to do the best I can because I'm rewiring some stuff that's already in there, but just be patient with me and just know that I am trying to unearth it."

There is a certain amount of peace that has to come as you grow older with the good and the bad. And knowing that, I think you're absolutely right. There are moments that something happens and I react a certain way and my response was like, "Oh, this must have been really hard for her." Yeah, I could see why she drifted into feeling that way. And I'm like, okay, I know it's hard because here I am trying to swim against the current and not do that again, but boy, is it tempting to float right into exactly what she used to do that I was like, "Oh, why do you do that?"

Cecile: And she probably did it because she was fighting the same battle.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: That's it.

Cecile: And at the time, it's just, as you said, it's very convenient. So we keep going back and what's hard as a mother is it takes so many years for the kids to be able to verbalize that until they are parents themselves.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes.

Cecile: I remember, again, I had my kid when I was 30, and I called my mom. My mom was a stay-at-home mom, and I always knew growing up that she was dedicating her life to us and I was very grateful of that, but not in a very external way. I knew I had it comfortable. I always thought when I'm going to be a mom, I'm going to be a stay-at-home mom because that's the best for my kids, and I was convinced of that. And then I had children. I was like, "No way. Not for me. It's not happening."

So I called my mom. I was 31 years old. I called my mom and I'm like, "Mom, thank you for your hard work. Thank you for everything you've done because I never really realized what it meant." I knew it was comfortable for us. I didn't know the cost of that. But it took me like—so she was very happy to hear it, but took her 31 years—and I'm the last one of the kids, so there were multiple kids before me—to hear it. I'm like, she had to be so patient to deal with me being cranky and obnoxious and vindictive when—31 years. [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs] Listen, there's no expiration date on a thank you, And there's no expiration date. I mean it's like, we'll take it. But I love the fact that you were willing to appreciate your mom but not necessarily replicate her. Do you see that? It's that kind of thing where sometimes we feel like in order to really honor our parents, we have to be exactly like them. Actually, that's not true because life changes and times change and what people need and what makes sense, it shifts.

But you can definitely appreciate something and say that like, "I appreciate it, but I'm not gonna necessarily make that choice myself because it doesn't fit what's going on, but doesn't mean that I appreciate it any less." And sometimes we feel like we have to choose that. I find myself too where it's that kind of that teenager defiant comes into saying like, "I don't wanna be like that. And I don't like how you did that." Okay, you don't have to always say the second. You can say like, "I appreciate the choices you made. They were difficult choices. That was a choice that worked for you, and I appreciate how difficult that was. I am making a different one." And that's it.

We're not comparing. We're not trying to compete. It's always a strange thing of this competition. There's no competition. We all try our best with who we are, who our partners are, who our children are, they have different needs, what the world needs in terms of what do we need to succeed in this society and what modeling we want to give for our children to succeed in society.

And, again, the generational piece. It's interesting because Mother's Day for me, as someone who has very little family in this country, I only knew my grandmother for maybe the first quarter of my life. I didn't really have grandparents around all the time, you know. And my children have, thank God, both sets of grandparents, which is crazy to me which is amazing.

And, again, my mother-in-law with the cards, and then we've got the cards going. I remember I went up to Target, I bought $75 worth of cards, and the person looked at me like, "Do you have a store? [laughs] No one buys these cars." And I'm just like, "Just leave me alone. I've got a lot of people we're gonna send—" and thank God. But then over the years, we've lost people. And so for me, Mother's Day, the reason why I brought out the generational thing, to me is the day to check in. Who's around? Who can we celebrate with? Because there will come a day, God forbid, where the cards are not there. We don't have as many people to send cards to.

And that to me is adulting. You put aside whatever feelings you have about "You should have done this, you shouldn't have done this," to like, "I appreciate that you are in our lives." And that's it. I think that's all that we can do for each other, is just to appreciate each other as much as we can for at least 24 hours. [laughs]

Cecile: I love that you're saying that because then it goes away from the—yeah, there's the card and the commercials and the candy and all that stuff, but if the cards are a way to extend your hand and be like, "Hey, we're in this together. From one mom to another, let's continue fighting. We are there and we're going to get through that storm whatever stage we are in." It's built the village too of saying like, "I know what you're going through, you know what I'm going through, we are connected."

And motherhood is not a single-person job, as we talked in the previous talk, it's really a village, a community, a sense of like, we are better mothers when we are multiple people together. And maybe Mother's Day can be an extent of that and be like, "Okay, we're mothers, let's connect to all the motherhood love and our knowledge that is around us," because otherwise we get isolated. We're only the combination of everybody's mothers.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah, and I think that's a great point because I do think that no one person should be expected to do everything right, none of us are. So I do depend on my friends or other mothers in my kids' lives to round off the edges maybe where I messed up here and there, where I could use a little bit more understanding and patience. I need my village to do that for me.

And I think this generation of women, and this generation of people, we're not perfect. We are still trying so hard. We'll never do everything perfect, but I think that we are willing to admit, especially in the context of women going into the workforce, and women trying to really—I hate the word balance, so I'm not gonna use it, but to navigate the intersection between working outside of the home, working inside the home, and your relationships. And I think that we're coming out of that space where we can do it all to being like, "Could you hold my hand? [laughs] I could use a hug."

Cecile: We talk a lot about equality and rights and trying to be, as women, seen more for what we are, but I think the point that you're bringing of being okay to ask for help, it is probably the biggest right that we should exercise because it feels like—especially in the motherhood role where it's like you're a mother because biologically you were designed to be a mother, so it's like—it's you. [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah.

Cecile: But now, being able to say, "Yeah, I have some of the basic biology for it, but it's a giant mountain, and I have two feet. Somebody has to build the rest with me because it's not just my own responsibility and job and the only thing I can do, especially with the world that our kids are facing nowadays, it's becoming so complex and so different than what we grew up with in the past generation, that we need to all be together in there because otherwise, it's not gonna happen.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: It's interesting because while I believe there's a lot of resources that are out there, there can actually be also a saturation of advice, where there's like—I mean, we find it as adults, but even as kids, where everyone's giving you 10 ways to do things at least. And I think that one of the things that I have grown to appreciate, and we talk about this all the time when we've had other talks in terms of how to spend time with your children, other people who are around you, it just becomes more of a struggle to be present and to just listen.

You know, I have this thing, I was walking around with my oldest and we were doing errands, and it's the funnest thing about being able to live together in New York City at the same time. And I was like, "I have this thought and it was with one of my clients that had this teenager and they were going back and forth with her mom and she's going back and forth." And she just turned, and she was so—sometimes I love the clarity that comes from being that age, you know? And she was like, "Listen, mom, I'm just trying to explain this to you. I am not complaining to you." [laughs]

And we've talked about this before. What role do we have in our children? What impact do we have for our children? And I think in the end of the day, if they can see a person who is present and is in touch with what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are, And where they can ask for help and where they can take care of things and be able to see someone who is willing to be fluid and shift with the chaos of the world, that's the best you can do. That's the best you could do as a parent because the world needs a little bit of that, the ability to move with the challenges that come at them.

I played tennis. You can't be flat-footed. You gotta be a little up on your toes, just ready. And when you have a situation where we define things so clearly, where this has to be this way or that way, and they just don't get that kind of—it's not laxity. There's a word that we use.

Cecile: Adaptability?

Dr. Varisa Perlman: What is it?

Cecile: Adaptability?

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes, it's really along that way, adaptability. Again, it's a weird Mother's Day message [laughs] because we're trying to talk about something that, again, is usually in a nice box.

Cecile: It's going to be a long card to write. [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs] It's a lot more like that's what we can give, is just that appreciation. And that's why I say, I'm not harping on the things that we might be upset with our moms. I'm just highlighting that it's okay to feel them, and it's okay to also just be at peace with them and be like, "You know what, you did the best you could. We're doing the best we can. We are. We just keep going. I love you. You're present in my life. You're here. Thank God." And that's it. It's not that complicated.

Cecile: And also, it's pressing that there are multiple touch points that can play that role of extended mothers. I feel like it removes some of the pressure from being the good mother when you fail. And also, it tells your kid that you grab your information from a network of stuff, which is also true in life. You don't take a singular source of information, you take multiple sources, you gravitate towards different friends, and then you make your own opinion, you make your own personality, you make your own sense of style by just picking and grabbing and analyzing everything around you.

So if we put that into perspective, which I feel like it's pushed a lot in our kids nowadays, which is nice because they can build themselves from pieces that they find everywhere. So motherhood should be the same where you're like, "Yeah, I'm your mom on paper But I'm one voice." And maybe there's stuff that we can say as mothers that other people might not be able to say. So we use it to exercise that privilege to be able to convey some messages. But at the same time, we would encourage them to be like, "Listen to the other voices. And if other voices tell you something that seems legitimate and you want to share it back, then feed me as well. Then maybe I can grow and become different voices for another set of kids or other people around it."

So we can all mother one another in terms of not the logistic, but mentally help nurture everyone because the goal is that as a society, we keep going and grow and feel safe and nurture and all the things that we want for our kids.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah. I think that description actually is a good way to visualize the difference between the French view of Mother's Day to the American view, which, I don't know, maybe I think it's because we live in a country of mostly immigrants and I feel like—my mother, once she left Thailand, I think she saw her own mother maybe like five more times before she died. You don't have the luxury to have all those people around you. You make up every—at least for me growing up as an immigrant, anyone who was a female that entered my home was an auntie. [laughs] They became, you know?

And so I think that because of that in the United States, we've forced ourselves to say, "You know what, let's just honor everybody. Let's just grab everybody and just say we're gonna value what you do and at least take a moment." These holidays are pretty commercialized and they're pretty cheesy and stuff like that. And it's annoying because it's hard to get a reservation at different brunch places. [laughs] I get that. It's annoying that way, you know?

And if it means that you just even—sometimes this is a tough holiday if you've lost a mother recently. This is a really hard day because I think that we just—time goes by and then you look up one day and things happen and you can't really it breaks you. But then maybe spend that day with other women in your life or spend that day just sitting in the park, really appreciating someone who was in your life that way because we just don't do it. We just put ourselves in autopilot, clean up messes, have errands to do, drive around in the car. We just do it. And then we just look up, and all of a sudden, 5 years, 10 years have gone by. And so it's tricky.

And I do think it's not necessarily always gender-based, obviously. I mean, if you really think about it, I think if I had to describe I guess the difference—maybe we should just do parent days, but the difference between a mother and a father, I think that we have certain stereotypes that sit out there. And I've seen relationships where sometimes the roles are reversed. We always talk about mother being more nurturing or a father being more strict. We have those archetypes of all of that, but I've seen mothers who are way stricter. [laughs] I've seen fathers who are definitely the nurturing/maybe a little bit of a pushover, a little bit more.

I think the idea is that who can care for you, who cares for you. That is really who Mother's Day is for, it's who cares for you in that way. And it may not even be your own mother. But it's okay.

Cecile: Exactly. Yeah. So I think what we can encourage everybody watching is to think about who have those roles in your life and who you feel like is part of your overall mother, and then take a moment to appreciate with them and share with them if they're still around and the line of communication is still there. But to me, it feels a lot more deeper than sitting in a restaurant and be in my worst possible mother moment where I have to yell at everybody, be like, "Be quiet! Be nice! Smile! Be nice to your mother!"

Dr. Varisa Perlman: So what are you guys doing for Mother's Day? Let's do that. What would you do?

Cecile: You start.

Fanny: I don't know yet, but usually, we go to a farm as a family.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Oh!

Fanny: That's it.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah, that's nice.

Fanny: And I get some drawings and hug and kiss. But we don't do something too much, too big. We just spend the time as a family. I did not schedule anything. My husband was in charge of it. So I can let go and enjoy the day without to have the mental load of organizing my own celebration. [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah. I think that's a good idea.

Fanny: Yeah.

Cecile: And then for me, it's more like I don't plan anything and I see what plans itself that day. So I had years where nothing happened, but I'm fine with that too. I don't expect for that day to find out that my kids love me, and I feel I feel happy about that because I'd rather have a little bit of love and appreciation throughout the year than everything onto one day because it's marked on the calendar.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Right.

Cecile: But yeah, I have more of an acknowledgment that day of what they do for me or the testimonial that I get. And I really enjoyed when my neighbor who is more like my mom's age brings me flowers every year. And that's when I was like, "Oh, it's actually nice that she recognized we are teammates." Like, "You're a mom, I'm a mom. Hey, I'm going to get you flowers." And for some reason, that has a special taste as well.

After the conversation we just had, it makes perfect sense because it does make me feel like I'm recognized for all I do in and outside the house.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes. It is.

Cecile: It feels nice. The kids thing is cute, but my kids now are older, so it looks a little more forced of like, "Oh, I have to write you something, so I did it last night." Last year, I think one of my kids printed something out of the internet. Oh, thank you. Feeling very special today.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah. So in France, is that a big day that everyone goes out? Is it like here?

Cecile: No. So in France, it's very personal, intimate, so at home. The kids at school will have some kind of activity where they would do something throughout the week before. And then on the morning, they would give it to their mom and pretty much it. Some of them might go to a restaurant.

Fanny: Maybe now it's more.

Cecile: I never did that with my parents, so.

Fanny: Me neither.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah, yeah. You know, it's that kind of thing where you always have to tread that thing, you want it to have—that everyone sees it and does it as something, but you don't wanna get it so that it becomes like—doesn't have a meaning to it. And I do think that it is nice sometimes to just let someone else plan for the day and just—even if they do nothing, but just not have to even be managing that space.

Cecile: And you don't want it to be pressure either, because I feel like if I had something planned on a Sunday because I do that every Sunday, then it would annoy me that now I have to turn around my schedule for Mother's Day when you can celebrate me wherever you want, I'm here. [laughs] Every day, you can celebrate me at 7 o'clock when it's time to cook. How about that? [laughs]

Dr. Varisa Perlman: But you know what? That might be something—it's interesting because as we're talking and we're just chatting like how to make—I do think that if you can—it's interesting because as you get older, and I would often say this in my mind, I would say that here I am taking care of a lot of people in my space, whether it be as a doctor or as my own family or even other people around, but who's gonna take care of me? Who's gonna take care of me?

And I think that it was interesting because I didn't realize how difficult of a question that was for me because there comes a moment, honestly, that your own mother—my mom's in her 80s, she's just like, "I just wanna—" She still asks me how I am, but she's also like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so tired today." [laughs] Her own health, she's still trying to make sense of growing older, so she just doesn't really have all the energy to care for me in that way. And I think that that's why it motivated me to send a card out to my friend who I feel like would always find a time to send me something randomly, to remind me that there was somebody that was thinking of me.

So, I think that, again, we don't need to commercialize, don't be so literal about it. Have a moment to think about people that you care around you and people who do care for you in your village. Forget your kids' village. Who's your village? In many ways, I think that is something that Mother's Day can feel different because you're right, because when you have your kids, you're forcing them to write the card. When I saw Izzy, I came with like 10 cards, and I was like, "Okay, I've got three pens, please write in all the cards, write it on the cards." And we're in the middle of a restaurant grabbing all the cards. And I'm like, "This is not really getting the point." But they were really great about it because I wanted other people to get their cards, and I wrote cards.

But it's that kind of thing where it's just the idea of just who's your village? Who is your space that cares for you? And if you look up and you're like, "I don't have a lot of people who care for me," then find them. Choose friends who do, get rid of those who don't.

Cecile: Yeah, be selective. You deserve to be selective. You can be picky. For that, you have to be picky.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: I think that Mother's Day could be like a slash care day. Who cares for who? Let's just honor people who care for each other. And I think in many ways, in some ways, people may say it dilutes the message. But to me, I feel like, as I've watched life go by so quickly and the cards get less and less, it really becomes a matter of surviving. Because you have to remember that there are people who do care for you, and reach out to them, thank them, and also care for them too. And let's do that because we do lose the people around us because life is like that.

It's been stunning. I don't mean to keep on going back to the cards but it's stunning. My family is not—I wasn't raised with cards, but in many ways, it's just a concrete way to communicate to people in this time of texting.

Cecile: It's intentional. So the fact that you spend time to go to the store and bought a card and wrote a card, that now has a lot more meaning than it used to because as you said, it's so much easier to copy-paste text or get animated images where it's like, "Happy Mother's Day." You get like 500 of those from people you don't even know. You're like, "Thank you." As you said, the card makes it that you went for this person and you wrote the address and you wrote something in there, so that has more power.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: So if I made a dry noodle necklace for you, Cecile, would you wear that next year for Mother's Day?

Cecile: Sure.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs]

Cecile: I would gladly wear it.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: You know how they talk about Hallmark? You know there's a dry noodle business somewhere that's like, "I have a fantastic idea. I think that we should make this so every holiday, it's the dry noodle necklace. That's the way to go."

Cecile: I think it's going to be in trend. Mark our words, you heard it here first. Next year when everybody's wearing the dry noodle necklace, it come from us.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Maybe when you guys get where you're like, "Oh, what else should we do besides La Petite Creme? I think we should go into the dry noodle business."

Cecile: I think that's what it is.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs] Try to make those necklaces popular here. Do you guys have the fortune of having generations of women around you, or in France, you have more? 'Cause you guys are expats.

Cecile: So we have each other, which we feel like that's the closest that we have to family who is not blood here. And you have—

Fanny: Me, I have friends from very, very long time. One is pregnant, the other one has two kids. And even if I moved in the US, we never broke that link, and I know that I can count on them anytime and the same for them. So it's very precious. And also I have my sister, which I'm very close.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Oh, that's wonderful.

Fanny: And even with the distance, we managed to keep that link because as you said, I think we all made the effort to recognize that this link is important and we work not every day, but we work somehow in the year to reinforce that link and acknowledge that it is important and the day that we are together, it's the same as we never be separate.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes.

Fanny: And my mom, of course. And my grandma. I still have one grandma, which is 93.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: That's amazing.

Fanny: That's a different generation.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes.

Fanny: But she's still there, and she's still important in my heart. So, pretty happy to have her around, and I will definitely celebrate her on Mother's Day even if it's my grandmother.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yes, right, which is wonderful. And Cecile, you have a lot of family?

Cecile: Not here in the US. I have my mom and my sister in France. And then I just lost my second grandmother-

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Oh, I'm sorry.

Cecile: -last year. But before that, I had my two grandmothers, so my kids got to meet their great-grandmother for about 10 years. So it was very fortunate of that for them to see multiple generation of mothers, and the mother of their grandmother. So I think it's also show them that mom is not only mom who is mom to a kid, but okay, mom has a mom. I see that. And then mom's mom has a mom.

So it gives them the tree of like the history, which was—I mean, we felt very fortunate of that because they can see how each one interact with the next, and they could see their grandmother becoming a child to their great grandmother because we keep that. We always stay kids and we can be wherever we are, but as soon as we step in with our parents, we become somebody completely different. So the kids could experience that with every generation. It was touching to see because they always nurture that relationship through everyone cherishing it all the way up.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Yeah, I think the thing that's also really nice about having generations around you too, my grandfather ended up moving in with us for a little while. My grandmother unfortunately died in a car accident while they were visiting. So she passed away in that way. But to watch my own parents care for him and to realize that the caring doesn't go in one direction. It goes in multiple generations. The whole sandwich idea, where you're taking care of your younger generation and you're also taking care of your older generation. And I didn't think that much about it until maybe this year.

And I think that it was that kind of thing where, again, like you said, you're like, "What is this? Where did this come from?" And then it clicks and then you're like, "Oh my God, this is what they were talking about. This is what they were talking about. That you had to take care of one side and the other side."

Cecile: It's good because that means you're gonna be taken care of on both sides too. So I love the sandwich analogy that if you're extending on two generations, then somebody is going to extend to you from two different directions. And that gives you the support of you have something to stand on because it's not only your own two feet, you have all those additional pieces of support around you, and it helps you go through the day, the hard ones, the good ones, and keep moving because, again, by yourself, you cannot do it. It's too much for—

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And it's that kind of thing where you model, so as they're watching you take care of the older generation—I know there is a selfish part of me that I'm like, "And that's how you should take care of me when I'm annoying to you too and I'm older. I want you to mother me too, because I'm gonna need it, but if they see you just angry all the time, it's not the energy that you would want for yourself.

And so it's an incredible challenge to realize that you have a responsibility to work out whatever you need to work out so that you can take care of both generations. I personally, as a pediatrician, love watching the younger generation talk to the grandparents and that exchange, because I feel like there can be such a sharing in terms of patience. Again, we always think about more of a negative, but sometimes, I see my kids and they're just like, "Yeah, that's just how it is." They're just so good with their grandparents and their grandparents are like, "Oh, they're fine." And so they get along with each other in a way that I can't with either of them. And they both model to me how I should be. They're like, oh, okay.

Cecile: But at the same time, you can take credit for that because you're the middleman. So they would not be able to have that relationship because we all morph into other people around us. We take pieces of people around us. So that beautiful relationship that you witnessed between those two generations, you're the middle person. So you have to have a role into that one way or another.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: You can be that fulcrum that either makes it work and makes everyone understand, or you can make it not work. And so there is a certain responsibility as we walk into understanding our place, as we grow older and our different roles that we have in our lives that we are trying to work things out and yet the same times come to peace.

There has to be a balance. We can't walk around angry all the time. We really need to have days or times where we're just like, "You know what? We are just explaining each other to each other, but we are not complaining to each other. No one needs to get fixed. Nobody needs to be changed or a different person. We can just coexist together. And I think that is not easy, but at least for Mother's Day [laughs] it should be the way that it works.

Cecile: So that's what we can wish for everybody who's watching as we are heading towards the end of this talk, is enjoy your Mother's Day, reach out to the mothers, in a wide term, in your life, the mothers, the source of inspiration, people who help you in that role, and be present as we say all the time. Be present and see what life is throwing at you that day. It could be coming from a different direction than what you anticipated. It could be the dry noodle necklace or it could be something else. Let's see what your dry noodle necklace is this year.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: [laughs] I hope my kids make me a dry noodle necklace.

Cecile: [laughs] Yeah. Just a hug. A hug would be already a wonderful gift. And we wish everybody a wonderful Mother's Day. Happy Mother's Day, Varisa.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Happy Mother's Day. Enjoy.

Fanny: Happy Mother's Day to everyone who watched.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And you take care of all these mothers through your product as well.

Cecile: Yeah. And we have a special for Mother's Day where you can have this wonderful t-shirt that Fanny is wearing, the Oohlala t-shirt. So if you want to make your Mother's Day a little more French, we can be with you. So that would be our way to hugging you is to get that t-shirt.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Very nice.

Cecile: Wonderful.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: And we'll see you in a couple weeks, right?

Cecile: Yeah. Wonderful talking to you. Bye, everyone.

Dr. Varisa Perlman: Bye.

Cecile: See you soon for next episode of Moms Talk with a French Accent. And until then, have a wonderful time.

Fanny: Bye.

Cecile: Bye.

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Watch other episodes here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1dpfz3OiZoOwHuST-GmH9sTD0TfF3rIp


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