August 8, 2014  |  by Kelly McCann, M.A., LMFT  |  Uncategorized  |  1 Comment


2As many of you know, a big focus of my work (and one of my lifelong passions/obsessions) is helping women lead more authentic and connected lives. In both my work and personal life, I have come across countless women who want more community, knowledge, and space to process their experience of motherhood, but don’t have the time, resources, or necessity for weekly therapy.

To meet this need, I am currently in the process of creating a regular mother’s group for Orange County women called “The Mommy Tribe.”- a fun, informative, supportive place for women to be real, dig deeper, and connect more fully with themselves and their lives. While there are many wonderful mothers groups already in place, most of these focus on the development and parenting of the child. This group will be oriented around a different kind of conversation- mainly the development and enrichment of the mother. My intent is to teach and discuss weekly topics that directly effect mothers ( intimacy, identity, self care, boundaries, relationships, life balance, mindfulness, conscious parenting, etc.),- and help women connect more deeply to themselves- essentially a THERAPY BOOTCAMP and LIFE ENRICHMENT COURSE for Moms.

The groups will be held during school hours in my office in Corona Del Mar for 8 weeks. I am purposely keeping the group size small because I believe it allows people to engage more fully and connect on deeper levels. MOMMY TRIBES will be forming this September, so if this is something that sounds of interest to you, please contact me via email or telephone.

Because wandering the aisles of Target alone feels like a vacation.
Because you are starting to feel like business partners.
Because it never seems like enough.
Because you fantasize about sneaking away to a hotel room, by yourself.
Because that ten minute conversation with your friend after school drop-off just doesn’t cut it.
Because you are starting to sound like your mother.
Because you don’t just want to survive, you want to thrive.

Because it really does take a village…







What Matters When Raising an Unbreakable Child- part 3

May 5, 2014  |  by Kelly McCann, M.A., LMFT  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

” Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one” – Jane Howard

In the final post in this series on Raising an Unbreakable Child, I’d like to discuss the third factor identified in resilient children, namely, extended community.

Organic community is declining rapidly in this country. We move away from our families for jobs, we have one hundred “friends” on Facebook but don’t know our neighbors, we are hesitant to be “joiners” of anything from churches to clubs to sports leagues. We can easily live in our cars and inside our houses, creating a bubble around our families with little meaningful connections to the outside world.

It Really Does Take a Village

Children need community. Children need witnesses for their lives- people who knew them as a child AND as a teenager. People who are invested in them learning certain lessons, becoming their best selves. We are foolish if we think that in today’s world, we as parents are enough to teach and protect our children from the landmines that await them.

Perfectionism- A Woman’s Greatest Enemy

January 3, 2011  |  by Kelly McCann, M.A., LMFT  |  Mothers  |  No Comments

In a recent keynote speaker address, famed feminist Gloria Steinem said that “Perfectionism attaches to what is valued in the culture.”  In our culture, thinness is valued. Beauty is valued. Looking “together” and “fashionable” is valued.   Psychologist Beth Weinstock articulates the many ways perfectionism works on women in today’s culture:

“Perfectionism is a contemporary menace for women on many fronts. In the midst of our confusing world, the perfect woman is supposed to attain it all — have a career, look good on the job, be available to their kids by 6 p.m., make healthy, homemade meals, have connecting family conversation at dinner, and pay attention to adult intimate relationships. This is tremendous pressure. In my clinical office I hear how many women think they “should” not have gone to work so early and “should” have stayed home with their kids, and then from the ones who stayed home, I hear how they regret not having had a career. The pressure is topped off by the requirement that having it all goes with attaining the thin body ideal. For too many women, whatever success they can claim is wiped out by their inner critic if they are not “thin enough.”

These kinds of standards leave many women struggling with feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, and exhaustion in the quest to be the perfect mother, wife, friend, career woman, etc.

Orange County: Perfectionism’s Playground

If Perfectionism were an evil villain, its’ playground would be Orange County. Southern California seems to have more of a particular emphasis on looks and status than other areas of the country.  In my practice in Newport Beach, I hear endless stories from women about the pressures to be thin, beautiful, accomplished, “Supermom”, and socialize in the “right” circles.  I think mothers in particular suffer from the wrath of Perfectionism, as they try to be not only all those things but also an attuned, amazing mother who throws fabulous birthday parties, volunteers in the classrooms, and disciplines her children in correct and appropriate ways.  It’s no wonder that in women’s efforts to “be it all”, they end up losing themselves.

Embrace Your “Good Enough”

It’s a new year, and as always, we have all made our lists of goals and in some cases, states of perfectionism, we all hope to achieve. Maybe this year, however, your goal should be to embrace your “good enough”.  Be a “good enough” parent- maybe forgo stress induced birthday party and just focus on giving your children more one on one.  Be  a  “good enough” body weight- maybe with a little squish to the tummy but with less intensity and time focused on staying toned and trim. Be a “good enough” person- carefully pick the things that mean the most to you and let all the excess “shoulds” fall by the wayside.

If we as women could all lower our standards a little about how “perfect” we need to be, chances we will come to find that even on our worst day, our “good enough” is more than enough.

The Mother of All TO DO lists

December 6, 2010  |  by Kelly McCann, M.A., LMFT  |  Marriage, Mothers  |  No Comments

Everyone has their TO DO lists. Mothers especially seem to have an endless list of tasks to complete-housework to do, papers to fill out, apppointments to schedule, presents to buy, playdates to attend, etc. etc. etc. Most mothers I know feel like there are never enough hours in the day and that no matter what is accomplished, the list never ends.

Besides just the day to day list of things that need to get done, I’d like to highlight some of the more subtle and yet equally demanding requirements today’s mothers are faced with.

Why is this so hard?

It’s hard because whether someone articulates it to you or not, as a mother, these are the expectations you absorb:

  • Raise happy, healthy, moral children who are bonded to you and yet are independent.
  • Make your home a haven- including decorating, organizing, cleaning,- ideally like a magazine spread.
  • Stay informed in all the latest scientific research about caring for your child’s physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and intellectual well-being and execute it properly.
  • Have a sexy, passionate, equal, emotionally connected, fulfilling marriage.
  • Have a career or separate self outside the home.
  • Lose your baby weight immediately and try to physically erase or minimize any trace that you actually had a child
  • Stay up on trends. Be fashionable. Stay sexy.
  • Do it on your own- with little help from family, friends, or community.
  • Stay balanced, serene, and grateful for the experience of being a mother.

I could continue to add to this list, but hopefully you get the point. The expectations we hold mothers to, that we hold ourselves to, are endless and let’s face it- near impossible. We always feel like we are failing because we can never do and be all these things. Even we did “master” this list- no one is around to give us the recognition.

Expectations of Mothers

The discourse our society holds about what mothers should and should not be hover over us as we go throughout our days. They are inescapable and keep us frazzled, frustrated, and feeling bad about ourselves.  While there are no easy solutions to these problems, we can at least shine the light on these expectations so we know when they are working on us. We can begin to choose what is realistic for us, and what we are just not going to be bothered with.  It requires being gentle with ourselves, and letting go of some of these expectations we hold ourselves to.

Making Mommy Friends- Orange County Moms Groups

November 22, 2010  |  by Kelly McCann, M.A., LMFT  |  Community, Mothers  |  2 comments

One of the most difficult parts about transitioning into motherhood is the sudden isolation that occurs upon the arrival of your infant. Where you were once out in the world of “adults” on a daily basis- at work, at dinners with friends, extracurricular activities, you are now regulated to a homebound life with nap schedules and conversations with a baby who can’t talk back.  Friends who don’t have children don’t entirely relate or understand what now consumes your days, and spouses can become the only adult interaction you have all day. This leaves many mothers feeling lonely, isolated, and overwhelmed.

‘Cause You Gotta Have Friends

One of the saving graces of the craziness of motherhood is your relationship with other mothers. Women who are in the trenches with you, women who are living your reality, and who can comfort and aide you in a way that no other can. But if you are a new mother, there is not always a readily available group of mothers to step into. So you have to seek it out. You have to proactively make Mommy Friends, which can be awkward and uncomfortable at first. If you are not a “joiner”, now might be the time to become one.

OC Moms Groups

Orange County is filled with resources for mothers, including some excellent options for Mother’s Groups. There are countless options for getting out of the house with your baby and meeting other moms.  One great option is the MOPS ( Mothers of Preschoolers)program, which is a national program that partners up with individual churches to offer support and community for mothers of young children. The MOPS program at Mariner’s Church in Newport Beach is excellent, with amazing childcare and informative speakers ( plus you get a hot breakfast! What would be better!). I myself have greatly benefited from this group, and my children love it. They are currently doing registration for Spring Session and slots fill up fast so I recommend registering sooner than later. ( Note: This program is open to anyone with a child under the age of 5. Babies too!)

If you don’t want a group with a religious affiliation, Moms Club is another great resource and is organized by where you live, so you will be with a group of women who live in the same neighborhood as you.  Whatever you are looking for- you can probably find it- OC Family magazine has a wonderful comprehensive list of all the moms clubs available in Orange County.

So widen your circle. Whatever it is, a moms group or just a regular group of moms to meet at the park, having community with other women who are in the same stage of life as your can be a tremendous help in enriching and supporting your experience of motherhood.