Find Your Tribe with Christina Toff

[cs_content][cs_element_section _id="1" ][cs_element_row _id="2" ][cs_element_column _id="3" ][cs_text]#FindYourTribe is a series dedicated to discovering mamas from around the world. It’s an opportunity for us to get a peek into the lives of amazing women and badass moms. Want to be featured? Let us know.[/cs_text][cs_text]Cristina Toff is a doula and lactation counselor & educator who has made it her mission to empower and support other mamas through the pre- and postnatal periods. She lives in a gorgeous, Pinterest-worthy house in Hoboken, NJ with her husband and 3-year-old. She's expecting her second little one any day now (!!!). Meet her at @cristinatoff and discover her newest project, The Motherhood Common, which will launch in early 2019.Let's meet her, shall we?[/cs_text][cs_element_image _id="6" ][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]After becoming a mom, how did you find your tribe?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]It took me a little while to realize that I needed to find and/or create a community for this new chapter of my life. Leading up to having my first son, Noam, a little over 3 years ago, I thought a lot about what kind of parent I would be, the activities we would do together and the home I would create for us - but I rarely thought about who we - or who I - would spend time with that would fill that need for community that all moms have. It just didn’t register.When Noam was a few weeks old, I started going to a new moms’ support group at our local hospital, but found that it too large for my introverted self to make many real connections. I often left feeling even more alone than when I came, which was definitely really difficult during that vulnerable first few months of new motherhood.I realized that I had this need for community but that the community needed to be of like-minded moms - of women who I could relate to and who I could understand and who could understand me on a level that was deeper than just ‘I, too, have a baby.’ After doing some research, I found our local La Leche League chapter and quickly became a regular member attending monthly meetings and connecting with members outside of meetings. I also joined a few Facebook groups that were specifically for breastfeeding parents or those interested in gentle parenting.Fast forward three years, and I’ve found and fostered so many more connections with moms from different corners of my life - from my women at my gym to women I’ve met through Instagram to women I’ve met through my lactation and doula work. It took time to build these connections, but it was ultimately easier than I expected it to be - I think when I figured out who I was - as a woman, as a mom - and I put that out into the world, the world was quick to give back a community that met me where I was and filled my cup in the most perfect way.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What would your memoir be titled?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]She’s Going to Be Okay. I’ve been pretty open about my life-long experiences and struggles with depression and anxiety and how they’ve impacted my role as a mom (and how my role as a mom have impacted them). There’s a lot I could say --and a lot I’ve already said--but I think the most important message that I try to spread is that--while it may be a lot of work and it may take time and it may be far more difficult than you expect or like--it’s so important to hear and to know and to really believe that you’re going to be okay.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What's the first thing you do each morning?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]I check my calendar on my phone to see what the day’s plan is. I’m a planner by nature and really rely on my calendar to remind me of what I’m doing each day (pregnancy brain and mom brain are not a planner’s friend). [/cs_text][cs_text][/cs_element_column][/cs_element_row][cs_element_row _id="19" ][cs_element_column _id="20" ][cs_element_image _id="21" ][/cs_element_column][cs_element_column _id="22" ][cs_element_image _id="23" ][/cs_element_column][/cs_element_row][cs_element_row _id="28" ][cs_element_column _id="29" ][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]If you had 12 hours with no outside commitments, how would you spend the day?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]Oh, I would read. I absolutely love reading - especially non-fiction - and don’t get to as much as I’d like to. 12 hours of reading sounds pretty heavenly to me. [/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]Do you have a parenting philosophy?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]I practice gentle, respectful parenting. In short, I try to follow my children’s leads as much as possible, treat them with respect and being empathetic and responsive. There are a lot of amazing books and thought-leaders in this space - one of my favorites is L.R. Knost and “Remember, you’re growing a person, not fixing a problem.” [/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What are the last three books you loved?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]If Our Bodies Could Talk, Sapiens and Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What’s the last thing you geeked-out about?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]Definitely birth and breastfeeding - but I’m constantly geeking out about those. As a doula and lactation counselor & educator, I’m constantly trying to stay updated on the latest studies and stories - there’s SO much to learn and discover and it’s always just mind-boggling.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What’s your favorite part of being a parent? Least favorite?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]My favorite part of being a parent has got to be experiencing those ‘a-ha!’ moments. Those moments when you notice something click for your child or a thought or idea emerges from his mouth that induces a sense of shock and awe and an immense amount of pride. There is nothing more magical than watching your child learn and grow right in front of your eyes. These moments make me overflow.My least favorite part is of being a parent is the constant worry that I feel - that I find impossible to turn off. It seems there’s always something to worry about - whether or not it’s actually a legitimate concern. Sometimes I worry about whether the other kids are being nice to my son. Sometimes I worry about whether my son knows how much I love him. I know these worries are sometimes unnecessary, but these are the things that keep me up at night. [/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What’s your most treasured article of clothing in your closet right now?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]I just got this super snuggly fall coat (still waiting on the fall weather…) from Hatch that will be perfect to wear while nursing my babe and enjoying the crisp fall air over the next few weeks and months.[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level="h2" looks_like="h4" accent="false"]What’s your tried-and-true parenting hack?[/x_custom_headline][cs_text]Always involving my son in the process. I find that when my son becomes a part of the process (rather than something being done to him or for him- whether that’s cooking or getting ready for bed or cleaning up - he’s so much more invested in the outcome. At his age, this means making things a game usually, which makes everything a little more fun for me, too. This works especially well when we’re leaving the house (which can be a struggle, especially when we have to be somewhere at a certain time).Thanks, Cristina![/cs_text][/cs_element_column][/cs_element_row][/cs_element_section][/cs_content]

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