Yael Braun, Co-Founder Of Fuck Cancer and Motherlucker, On Raising Empathetic Kids And Finding “Me-Time”

Yael Braun best describes her world as hectic. Amidst filming a new round for her Motherlucker x Facebook series, advising startups, and running Fuck Cancer, she dishes on raising girls with confidence and boys with empathy, finding “me-time” (be it at the Grammys or the gas station), plus why there’s no shame in asking for help. @yael @letsfcancer @motherlucker_  

What is it like having three kids of all different ages and stages?

The house is so much fuller in the best possible way, especially with three kids now—Jagger is 4, Levi is 2, and Hart is brand new! As they’re getting older, I’m noticing them becoming more independent and relying on each other for entertainment as well as companionship. Out of my three, Hart is an angel, which may have something to do with the fact that I’m less anxious and I don’t hover over her at all times. Whereas with Jagger, my first, every time he made a peep I picked him up!

How will you raise a girl now after having two boys in today’s climate?

As she grows up we may face controversial issues, but for now what I’ve found interesting, and different from boys, is often the first thing most people say to her is she’s “cute” or “beautiful.” While meant as a compliment, Scott and I are working hard to applaud her in other ways such as smart, kind, funny, or curious. We want her to grow up with the confidence that she’s more than just beautiful and doesn’t need to lean on her looks to get ahead in life

That said, what are your thoughts on raising boys?

We’re making a massive effort to raise empathetic boys. I believe empathy is at the core of many issues we’re dealing with in today’s society. Compassion is something we have to actively teach our children to move away from the mentality of “boys don’t cry.” In our home, we cry if our heart is sad or if our body hurts, but we don’t whine for attention or to get our way. We aim to give our children words to express themselves, deal with their issue, and move on. The other side of this is to lead by example. Simply put, treat everyone with respect and your kids will too.

How do you find a balance between your work life and home life?

Whether you’re a working mom or not, the key is to be present when you’re present (in all that you do). I used to try to answer emails at the dinner table, but ultimately it didn’t work. My kids felt like I wasn’t giving them attention which was confusing for them, and I couldn’t focus on work properly either. Think about when you’re out to dinner, and your partner is on their phone the entire time— it feels terrible. For kids to have that all the time, I can only imagine it’s giving them a complex. Therefore, I make a concerted effort to be with them when I’m with them and when I’m working I go into a separate physical space where they don’t expect my attention.

What is a ritual you have with your kids?

Every week we do Shabbat at home. The boys and I make Challah during the day, and after dinner, we say the prayers and light candles — they love it! Plus, we all cram into Hart’s bathroom and the boys help me bathe her; it’s chaotic and fun!

Morning Routine?

Crazy. Completely crazy! I’m up at 6 am before the boys get up at 7 am to make their lunches and breakfast, then I feed Hart while Jagger and Levi destroy shit/help each other get dressed. And, once I get everyone settled, I will work out between feeds—the story of my life these days is “between feeds.” I only recently started working out again after three months post-birth. I’m doing Rumble as it’s the perfect “new mom” workout because you can self-regulate. Plus it’s loud, social, and you hit stuff—sometimes that’s all you need!  

How do you prioritize self-care?

I was terrible at taking care of myself after Jagger, but I’ve gotten better about prioritizing self-care with each kid. Initially, I felt that my kids needed me every moment of every single day. The reality is, they don’t, and they’re better off having time without you as they learn different things from different people. One person can’t do it alone. Having this understanding has freed me to make more time for myself. Sometimes just getting to leave the house for Scott’s work events like the Grammys is exciting! Even grocery shopping or getting gas feels like “Me-Time” at this point.

What’s one life-hack you can share?

When I first became a mom, I thought it was my job to do everything. I had a very unrealistic expectation of myself and was miserable as a result. Therefore, my best advice is to take help when offered! The fact that we feel as though we should do this alone is crazy. No other society has ever done it this way, and there’s a reason for it. It’s fucking hard, and it’s fucking lonely. We’re all just trying to do our best for our kids, and sometimes we’re just stoked they’re not eating food off the floor! Take the help where you can and know that’s not failing but instead making you a better person/mom/partner/wife. It takes a tribe. Truly.