This is one helluva list of TED Talks. They made me laugh, cry, be excited and most importantly, they made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that I was seen.
Motherhood is an incredible transition, it has unrealistic expectations put on it, the challenges often aren’t talked about, and we are expected to just ‘keep going’.
I cannot stress enough how much I believe all mothers should watch all of these TED Talks.
Save this page, save this list, binge watch them now or watch at your own pace, and share them with your friends – with other mothers who you believe should watch these.
1 – Three Things New Parents Should Consider Before Going Back To Work – Emily Oster
A great fast talk about the challenges women face when choosing if they should go back to work after having children or not (with a mention suggesting that we should be talking about whether or not a dad should stay home instead, love it!).
A super practical talk that gives you ideas of things to consider beyond simply wanting to stay home or wanting to go back to work – but more about whether or not it is the best option for you.
Regardless of the decision you make, asking these questions will help you feel more empowered about your decision and therefore you should feel more confident in your decision (which is a hard thing to do in motherhood!!).
2 – Can We All ‘Have It All’? – Anne-Marie Slaughter
How often are we caught up in the question of how we should balance our work and career goals and our family life?
How do we choose what is most important to us? And as mothers, what does male and female equality really mean? Does having women in high powered jobs represent real male and female equality?
Fantastic talk about the often unspoken side of the gender equality debate.
3 – A New Way To Think About The Transition To Motherhood – Alexandra Sacks
The birth of a baby brings the birth of a mother – one of, if not the most transformative events in a woman’s life.
But when you don’t live up to your own expectations, or societies expectations of you to just naturally adapt to motherhood, it can make you feel like you’re inadequate and not capable of being a mother.
Talk about this transition with other women, talk about it with your partner, talk about it with your own mother, and when we talk about it more, we start to understand that we are not alone.
A great short TED Talk that all mothers should watch.
Read more about Matrescence written by Alexandra Sacks here.
4 – Dying To Be A Good Mother – Heather Chauvin
Balance is Bullsh*t! Yes!! Gah! Abso-fricken-lutely! Balance doesn’t exist and chasing it only leads to feeling like you’re inadequate!
Having to unlearn everything that society thinks you need to be, and starting to pay attention to what you want in life can be a difficult thing but is also essential to living a happy and fulfilling life.
A beautiful talk about taking time for yourself, the realities of actually getting what you want in life, and how hard it can be to go after what it is you do want your life to look like.
5 – Hire A Mom! How 10 Years At Home made Me A Better Leader At Google – Martha Ivester
This is a longer talk, but truly worth the time to watch.
As women and as mothers we know our skills and value that we can bring to a workplace, but convincing employers of this can be difficult, sometimes impossible.
The ability to create or main a career while being a mother can seem incredibly overwhelming, but this talk will change the way you think about mothers in the workforce.
6 – Motherhood: The Most Perfect Mess On Earth – Micaela Birmingham
The quest to be ‘the perfect mother’ is never ending – but maybe we shouldn’t even be on that quest at all!
There’s a lot of beauty and happiness in the motherhood mess, and unless we stop to look at it and pay attention to it, we will totally miss it while on the quest for ‘perfect’.
This is a lighthearted, easy to listen to talk that is a lovely reminder to enjoy the everyday moments, and that the ‘perfect mother’ isn’t a destination we need to strive for.
7 – Parenting Through Postpartum Depression – Camille Mehta
Covering a topic that affects far more women than we realise (and men too!). This is such an important topic that we need to talk about a whole lot more.
As someone who has had postnatal anxiety, this one hits home, but also reminds me that I’m not alone.
This really is an amazing TED Talk to watch – one I challenge everyone to watch. Be mindful, the content of this talk can be triggering for some.
8 – The BS Of Motherhood – Kendra Estle
This is a quick TED Talk but it still packs a punch.
As someone who tries to share the truth about motherhood, and how difficult it is, I can relate to so much of this talk and I know many other mothers will as well.
If you only take one thing away from this talk, know that you are absolutely not alone (even in the front seat of your minivan).
9 – The Cost Of Idealizing Motherhood – Julie de Azevedo-Hanks
Have you ever been told that you were ‘born to be a mother’. That as a mother you should be self-sacrificing, that all of your happiness could be found in motherhood? Or even that you have to give up your career for motherhood.
These traditional views are part of the idealisation of motherhood and can leave women feeling like they don’t have an identity in themselves, and that women don’t have a choice in their role in the world.
Idealising and valuing are not the same thing. You can value motherhood without idealising it.
‘We are bombarded with messages about how to be the ideal mother… that there is one ideal way to be a mother, one ‘best’ way…. there is no right way to be a mother’.Julie de Azevedo-Hanks
10 – The Perfect Mother Needs To Go – Andrea Jansen
This is possibly one of my most favourite TED Talks ever!
The pressure to be the perfect mother starts before you’re even pregnant! We have these expectations of what motherhood will look like, and when we find that our expectations and reality don’t match up, we feel the pressure to change, to fit to the ‘perfect’ mould.
We feel like failures all the time, even when we are doing our very best.
The more we talk about how ridiculous the idea of the ‘perfect mother’ is, the more we realise that the perfect mother just doesn’t exist.
11 – Unleash The Mom Guilt – Tiffany N. Stallings
Mom Guilt – you know the feeling. We’ve all felt it, we all know that literally everything we do comes with some form of ‘mom guilt’‘. We need to ‘unleash the mom guilt’ – aka get rid of it!
This is a great talk about 3 truths that can help you unleash the mom guilt, be proud of the Mama you are. The third point is huge for me and one I try to come back to and focus on as much as I can.
12 – Why Moms Are Miserable – Sheryl Ziegler
While we have come far as a society, there’s one thing that really hasn’t changed – mothers are feeling unfulfilled with ‘the problem that has no name’. We have less life satisfaction, but why?
This talk is a good reminder to create connections, that even as mothers and in our ‘busy’ lives, we need closeness, not just Facebook connections. The perfect excuse for a catch up with your friends Mama.
13 – The Impact Of Motherhood On Confidence And Career – Helen Packham
Who are you? This is a question I have asked myself many times and is something I have tried to personally connect with outside of motherhood, outside of my career, outside of my marriage. Me, as me. So who are you, as you?
I can totally relate to the change in confidence that comes with motherhood, and like Helen, I too went through a divorce with a newborn.
Regardless of what is happening in your world, the transformation to motherhood can transform your understanding of self and therefore have an impact on your self confidence too.
14 – How To Raise Kids Who Can Overcome Anxiety – Anne Marie Albano
If you have a child with anxiety (or had anxiety yourself as a child) this is an incredibly interesting TED Talk.
While it’s our natural response to protect our children from being upset and from feelings of being uncomfortable, teaching them how to manage these feelings, take risks and engage (especially in situations where they feel uncomfortable) can actually be more helpful.
The only thing I would add to this is to ensure that you’re engaging in age-appropriate activities – this talk mentions things like ‘self-soothing’ but they aren’t talking about teaching babies to deal with situations on their own, because they aren’t cognitively able to.
Understand what your child is able to achieve cognitively at their age, and use age-appropriate ways to help support them through uncomfortable situations.
15 – How To Raise Successful Kids: Without Over-Parenting – Julie Lythcott-Haims
It’s so tempting to protect and help our children at every turn… but it is possible to over-parent. Of course, we want our kids to be successful, and giving them more than we ever had ourselves.. but at what point are we doing more harm than good?
What message are we sending our kids? That their worth is attached to certain grades or achievements? Or that they cannot achieve things in life without our help?
We need to teach our children about self-efficacy, and in order to do so, they need to do things themselves, without us doing everything for them.
As parents, our role is to help create a foundation that helps our kids learn how to be successful themselves (including chores at home!!).
And above all, we need to give our children unconditional love in order to teach them how to love – a key factor in teaching our children to be successful in life.
16 – If I Should Have A Daughter … – Sarah Kay
Such a beautiful talk that starts with an incredible spoken word poem that will get you thinking about what we want for our kids in this world.
I love how Sarah talks about breaking down the walls of communication with her students (particularly teenagers) who feel as though they have nothing to say, but using her methods actually find they can open up and share their thoughts.
17 – Dear Overwhelmed Moms, Self-Care Isn’t Selfish – Liz Carlile
‘Mothers not only could, but should be more selfish.’ Yes, yes, yes!!!
Seriously, this is something I advocate for so darn much!
What can you do to feel whole and ready for your days? Have you ever actually thought about what it is that fills your cup and brings you joy? It might take a few trials for figure out what it is that you need.
Self care isn’t selfish, it’s essential.
What you do for you each and every day changes everything and actively taking care of yourself can help you cope with overwhelm.
18 – For Parents, Happiness Is A Very High Bar – Jennifer Senior
Parenting + Anxiety is something many of us know all too well. There’s no manual on how to raise children properly, so the idea of raising children to a standard that isn’t actually determined is pretty darn stressful.
This talk is like a big hug of ‘you’re doing okay mama’. Love it.
19 – What Is The Most Important Influence On Child Development – Tom Weisner
Is it possible that the most important influence on child development isn’t how we parent, how we nurture and provide for our kids, whether or not they sleep through the night… but actually where they live? Where our children are raised, the community and family environment they are in.
This is a fascinating TED Talk that challenges how we think of the influences on our children and the differences in these from around the world.