Moms don’t get the recognition they deserve! As a business run BY local moms FOR local moms, Boston Moms is excited to showcase the hard work local moms are doing — both at home and in their professions.
Boston Moms is proud to feature Karen Peabody for this “Meet a Boston Mom Monday!” Karen is a social worker, therapist, realtor, and business owner.
We asked Karen to share a bit about herself. Get to know her here!
Full name: Karen Peabody
Occupation/business name: I’m a licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW), therapist, and owner of Forgewell Solutions, KLP Realty, and Supervision Circles.
Children: Samuel (11) and Juliana (8)
Hometown: West Bridgewater, MA
Favorite local restaurant: Johnny Macaroni’s in East Bridgewater
Tell us a bit about your work/job: I am a trauma therapist for adult clients by day, business owner/paper pusher/taxi driver/cook/referee by night! Maybe this is a little dramatic, but it captures the essence. Monday through Friday I work a normal business day, 9 to 5ish, seeing my individual clients. Most suffer from either acute incidents of trauma or have had a childhood where chronic neglect, abuse, maltreatment, or chaos was a chronic feature of their lives.
How does trauma affect motherhood? Trauma affects everything. When people suffer with trauma it stunts emotional growth. However, humans are resilient beings, and we can keep growing.
What about your work is the most fulfilling? Seeing people heal is the most exciting and fulfilling part of my job. Everyone has the capacity to heal, and I have seen amazing things. Everyone heals so differently, and I could never predict how people weave their path to safety. It is really quite humbling to watch.
Through my work I have found that kind, undivided, nonjudgmental listening is one of the most healing things we can do for someone. Yes, we as therapists have techniques and understanding of clinical situations, but to be truly invested in the person in front of you is such a gift.
What is your advice for a mom who has experienced trauma? To get help. If you know you have experienced trauma, find a therapist. I think being a parent can trigger traumas in a different way, which can be even more difficult for people. In trauma, there is an understanding that if the trauma is not healed, it will repeat in some way. In many cases we don’t even see the pattern, but a trained trauma therapist can.
In addition, we all have things in our lives that we consider to be “normal” that other people might have a different perspective on. It is opening these doors, sharing these stories, and asking us to think about our history that allows us to process our stories.
What surprised you most about motherhood? I was shocked to realize how isolating it was. I was so happy and in love with my new baby but was not prepared for the demands of motherhood. I had this notion that I would have the baby and be back to work and the gym and dinners with my girlfriends. Instead, I was home, unshowered, completely exhausted, and overwhelmed. I realize now I could have done some things differently, but at the time my new life was such a shock. In general, I think one of the most painful things all humans can experience is isolation. Being a new mother definitely has the potential to feel isolating.
What is one piece of advice you’d offer another working mom? Get a housecleaning service! If you don’t buy yourself a coffee every day, you can afford a cleaner two times a month. I felt like such a failure when I made the decision that I needed help, but it was the best decision I could have made.
The bigger picture is this: Get help wherever you can. I never wanted people to see I needed help. I would resist my mother-in-law when she wanted to fold my laundry or my friends who offered to take my kids for the day. I didn’t want to burden anyone with the things I couldn’t handle. I have learned, though, that women do that for each other because we know the pressures of being a mother, wife, employee, or business owner!
What role does self-care play for moms who are sorting through their trauma? Self-care is so important for moms. I think self-care can feel overwhelming, at times. But giving yourself time to think about what you are feeling is self-care — just to reflex and talk about your feelings. This is the first step to healing from trauma — identifying your feelings — so the smallest act of self-kindness is the first step.
What is your favorite kind of self-care?: Yoga, pedicures, and The Paper Store. These are three places where I don’t need to be anything to anyone.