Episode Summary:

Before I even started my podcast, I knew that I’d want to have today’s guest on the show — welcome Michelle Charriere, a birth to five mental health specialist who supports parents in understanding their child’s attachment and how to nurture security in their little ones. I’m excited to have her on because there’s a lot of buzz around secure attachment… is it actually healthy? Does it lead to a dependent child? How do you create a relationship that works for both parent and child? How does it relate to sleep? We’re getting into all of it in the full episode. Michelle was such an amazing resource for me when I was a new mom, so I know that this episode is going to be an amazing addition to your parenting toolbelt. I can’t wait to hear your favorite takeaways!


  • How Michelle’s experience and expertise with attachment has impacted her own motherhood journey and how it has allowed her to not be as hard on herself
  • What attachment is between a parent and child and what a healthy attachment relationship looks like
  • Balancing attachment and a health sense of dependence, especially in the early years 
  • How to repair your attachment and relationship with your child, whether it’s big picture or in the moment 
  • Michelle’s tips for the moms who are suffering from mom guilt through crafting a healthy attachment 
  • Debunking the idea that if a child cannot play independently, then their secure attachment relationship is unhealthy


    About Michelle:

    Michelle is a birth to five mental health specialist who supports parents in understanding their child’s attachment and how to nurture security in their little ones.

    Connect with Michelle:

    Read a raw, unedited transcript of this episode.

    Brittni (00:01.514)

    Welcome back to the Resting in Motherhood podcast. This is a conversation that even before I launched the podcast, I was excited to have. So I’m so excited to introduce our guest today, Michelle Charier of Babies and Brains. Hello, Michelle.

    Michelle Charriere (00:18.638)

    Hi, I’m so excited to be here.

    Brittni (00:21.13)

    I’m so excited to have you. If you can just give us kind of a little spiel or introduction of who you are and what you do.

    Michelle Charriere (00:29.646)

    Yeah, so my short title is a birth to five mental health specialist. So I’m exclusively focused on the first five years of life, all things mental health involving babies, toddlers and their parents. Because of the nature of that timeframe in life, I’m heavily focused on the attachment relationship because children get all of their needs met through the relationship with their caregivers.

    So yeah, I talk a lot about attachments, a lot about development. I share a lot of personal mom stuff because I have a two year old myself. And yeah, I think that is the gist of it.

    Brittni (01:05.29)

    I, Michelle, I feel so bad you totally cut out on all of that. So I’m like closing all of my tabs in case it like was taking up memory. So I’m gonna just totally, yeah, I’ll just have you, yeah, start from like your introduction at the beginning. I’m sorry. Because I was like, my gosh, we were.

    Michelle Charriere (01:10.862)

    it’s okay.

    No, it’s okay, I could do it again.

    Michelle Charriere (01:19.726)

    Let me close mine too. It could be mine. I have like a few open. Let me do that.

    Brittni (01:29.002)

    Okay, whenever you’re ready.

    Michelle Charriere (01:29.038)

    Like it’s now, okay, you just like stop too.

    Brittni (01:32.458)

    Okay, what about, I wonder, do I have anything else open? Let me just double check. No, I’m good on.


    Michelle Charriere (01:39.694)

    Like we were just having a casual, like meaningless conversation and it was fine and now it’s like…

    Brittni (01:43.69)

    It was fine. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Of course, as soon as I hit record. So I’m just going to actually fully start us over so that we’re not like, wait, where did we? Okay. I’ll just start from here. Welcome back to the Resting in Motherhood podcast. I am so excited to sit down and chat with someone that before I even started the podcast, I knew I wanted to have on and that is Michelle Charier of Babies and Brains. And Michelle, if you would just give us a quick introduction.

    Michelle Charriere (01:51.982)


    Michelle Charriere (02:14.222)

    Yeah, hi, I’m super excited to be here. So I am a birth to five mental health specialist. So I exclusively exclusively focus on the first five years of life, all things mental health for babies, toddlers, and their parents. And because of the nature of the first five years of life, I heavily focus on the attachment relationship, because especially very young children, they’re completely dependent on their caregiver and that relationship to meet all of their needs. So yeah, I talk a lot about about attachment.

    child development, trauma, and then I share about, you know, just my real mom life stuff too, because I have a two year old myself.

    Brittni (02:51.69)

    Yes, and one question I have for you is how are you currently finding rest in motherhood?

    Michelle Charriere (02:57.966)

    So in very small patches, but I am trying to be more intentional about it because it’s very hard being a business owner and running stuff from home. And then I also have my child just like screaming outside the door. So I’m really just like always into things at once. And so I actually realized that one time that like, I’m always thinking about my child when I’m in here trying to work. But then when I’m out with him, I’m always thinking about everything that I need to do. So I actually did start this journal practice.

    where and I did share this on Instagram where I’m just writing about our day and just like maybe something funny he said or just like an inside joke that formed in our family or like what my husband made us for dinner that day because I think we remember the big moments easily right like those are the big things those are the core memories but like I want to remember like the funny way that he said words or I want to remember like what Papa was cooking for dinner that night so

    I’ve really done that to kind of zone into like the joy, I guess, of just like the little daily moments and not just the big stuff and not all of the work stress stuff.

    Brittni (04:04.266)

    I love that because I also think it can help you like after days of like mom guilt, which is actually perfect because we’ll be talking about mom guilt today. But I’m sure like looking back, you can be like, okay, like yes, there were these hard moments, but you can find like a cute word that he said or maybe something special that you guys did. So I love that.

    Michelle Charriere (04:20.59)

    Mm -hmm.

    Yeah, and it really helps you also, like, I look at my partner differently too, because I’m like, like, you know, he’s like putting so much care into this dinner or whatever he’s doing for us. And it’s just bringing like a lot of intention and observation to those moments that I think sometimes are just seem fleeting, but they’re not. So yeah.

    Brittni (04:40.586)

    Totally, totally. You’re finding your sparks of joy throughout the day. I love it. So one question I have for you, since you are a mom and when you started your page, you were not yet a mom. So knowing everything that you know about attachment and everything, do you ever feel like sometimes it makes being a mom harder because you know so much? Or do you think because you know so much, you know that like you don’t have to get it perfect every single time?

    Michelle Charriere (04:44.686)

    Yeah. Yeah.

    Michelle Charriere (04:53.198)

    Mm -hmm.

    Michelle Charriere (05:10.254)

    Yeah, that’s an interesting question because so I don’t actually feel like I’m harder on myself at all because of what I know. If anything, I think because of how deeply I understand attachment that I have less pressure on me. But the problem is with social media. So like I’ve been in the field for over a decade. Like I went to school for so many years. So I have this really in -depth understanding. Like I know I can mess up and like my child’s not going to be messed up on social media. We’re trying to share this like quick.

    Brittni (05:28.746)


    Michelle Charriere (05:40.11)

    these quick bits of information. And so you’re not getting all of that depth. And so we’re just looking at like, this thing is potentially harmful or this thing is really helpful. And it’s so black and white. We don’t see those other layers underneath and that this is a whole relationship. Like it’s not a set of tips. It’s not a script. So for me personally, I found that it has actually helped me. Like I don’t perseverate on it as much because I know it’s about like the long game. It’s the foundational patterns that we’ve established. It’s not about.

    I had a bad day and I had a lack of patience for my son and now his attachment’s ruined. So it’s hard, I know, for other people.

    Brittni (06:17.578)

    Yes, well, and we talked about that before I hit record of like how much pressure there is. And I think social media is a double edged sword, right? Like we’re getting a lot of helpful information, but at the same time, we’re just like you seeing, we’re seeing these highlight reels or like these quick tips. And I’m so glad attachment is becoming something that we’re talking about because like, I know my parents had no idea what attachment or like the importance of attachment was, but I think it can be really hard, like you said, because it’s…

    Michelle Charriere (06:42.67)

    Mm -hmm.

    Brittni (06:47.786)

    we want to do it right. So in a quick, and I know you could talk about this forever, in a quick little spiel, like what is, why is attachment important and really what is a healthy attachment?

    Michelle Charriere (06:53.23)


    Michelle Charriere (07:00.622)

    Yeah, so just to define what attachment really is, because a lot of people think of it as like, it’s just this proximity, or it’s just how much my child wants to be near me, or it’s just the amount of affection my child wants from me. But attachment is really referring to the confidence that the child has in their relationship with their caregiver. So attachment is not a characteristic of the child. It’s really about that relationship. It’s always a dyad, it’s parent and child. And does that child feel confident that

    I can be my authentic self with my parents. I can go to them to get my needs met. Is my caregiver going to be somewhat predictable to help me feel safe? Safety is one of the most important underlying things in a secure attachment relationship. When children don’t feel confident, they’re not going to have that security. They’re not going to feel safe. And the reason that attachment is so important to basically every realm of development is because in order to learn and grow and thrive, we have to feel safe.

    because if we’re not, then our brain has to attend to the danger that’s around us. It has to be hyper vigilant of things that could pose threat. Well, the attachment relationship is kind of a shield. It’s that shield of safety. We create that bubble where they can feel safe in order to learn, grow and thrive. And then that is also the blueprint for future relationships that they will develop with their peers, their intimate partners, their bosses and so on. So yes, I could go on forever, but that’s…

    That’s why it’s so important and why we talk about it so much.

    Brittni (08:33.066)

    And just to kind of do a little myth busting, and I talk about this a lot with sleep, but is it true that we need to force independence on little ones? Or is the opposite true that through their dependence on us, they can actually become truly independent?

    Michelle Charriere (08:36.238)


    Michelle Charriere (08:50.158)

    Yeah, so Mary Ainsworth, I believe, this is where I read this from, is that actually when we’ve forced independence, those children become more reliant. And essentially, you know, this is just from societal generational stuff that like, if you help a child too much, they’re never going to learn to do it on their own. But with what I just said previously, children learn and feel safe within the relationship with the support. But

    there is a balance there because we can also take it on the other end of the spectrum to an unhealthy amount of support where we’re intrusive and we’re never letting our child try anything on their own. And so there’s that concept called scaffolding where it’s like we’re providing just enough support so they can try things, we’re available if they need us, but we’re also giving them the space to learn and grow. So dependents.

    early in life is absolutely necessary for a child to feel confident in the skills they have to gain that self -esteem and then be able to exhibit those skills later in life on their own.

    Brittni (09:54.218)

    And I think that’s something that’s so important is kind of like, what can we expect from dependents, right? Because in a world where we’re expected to put our babies in a crib in their own room at six months or summer starting from birth, I think we kind of need a little bit of guidance on like, OK, so what if we’re providing that scaffolding, what would a healthy amount of dependents look like kind of maybe in those first?

    And I know a lot happens in those three years, so that’s kind of a big window.

    Michelle Charriere (10:25.198)

    Yeah. And so, I mean, with all things that I answer, it’s never going to be like a straightforward answer because it’s, it’s really, I guess the most straightforward part of it as is that you’re going to have to look at your child’s cues because every child is going to be different. There’s going to be children with a more adaptable temperament and maybe higher energy. And they’re just going out into their world and exploring and maybe they don’t want you hanging right on them. And then there’s going to be children who need time.

    Brittni (10:28.746)


    Michelle Charriere (10:52.494)

    to warm up or time to adjust to their own sleep space, whatever that looks like. And so it’s really about following the cues of your child. And we may not know right away, but we may try something different and then we need to observe. Did that work for them? Did they need a little bit more from me? Maybe could I step back a little bit? It’s a lot of experimenting. It’s a lot of reflection. It’s never just like a straightforward formula for everyone. So I think just focusing on reading your unique child is probably the most helpful thing and not focusing on like,

    what worked for somebody else.

    Brittni (11:23.498)

    I love that. And I say the same thing in sleep, right? Like I could have two babies of the same age and I could be recommending two totally different things because of who they are, their temperament, their home life, everything. So I think that’s really important. And talking about like the importance of attachment, really what I wanted to talk about today was kind of the opposite of like, okay, what do I need to get right? What are all these steps that I need to do? And I really kind of want to talk about like, okay, well, what happens when I don’t?

    Michelle Charriere (11:26.638)

    Mm -hmm.

    Brittni (11:53.034)

    get it right. And I actually did Circle of Security with you two or I’m like trying to think two or three years ago. Yeah, I was gonna say I feel like Lila was like 18 months, maybe two years. So about two years ago. And one of the things that stood out the most to me was to be good enough. And I’m gonna have you say it because I don’t want to like butcher it. But I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Can you just share a little bit about that?

    Michelle Charriere (12:00.27)

    It was a long time, it was before my son was born, so it’s been a while.

    Michelle Charriere (12:20.942)

    Yeah, so there’s the concept of the good enough mother. So that’s where that comes from. There’s been studies or research done by Edtronic. And then I also think Winnicott, that one was earlier than that. Anyways, in Circle of Security, they say, all you need is to be good enough. And they say 30 % of the time is good enough. And it’s not just

    overall responsiveness, right? Like we don’t just like clock in for 30 % of the day. And then it’s like, you got this the rest of the day. It’s about that attunement. So it’s really about the cues I was just talking about. So 30 % of the time, are we reading the cues accurately and trying our best to respond, but that is not the main piece of it. And I don’t know if I, if I should be bringing up sleep trainers right now already, or if we were going to get to that later. So,

    Brittni (12:45.546)


    Brittni (13:04.042)

    No, please do, please do.

    Michelle Charriere (13:08.014)

    That piece gets misconstrued because then it’s like, well, if you attune 30 % of the time, you’re good. So then anything that asks you to ignore your child, that’s going to be okay as long as you’ve done it 30 % of the time. The big missing piece from this research is that, so yes, 70 % of the time there were mismatches and these were secure mother -child dyads, but these mothers actively worked to repair. So they were conscious of some of these missteps or these mismatches.

    and they repaired and these mismatches weren’t them turning their face away and actively ignoring and it wasn’t them putting their child in a room. It was just like maybe their child wanted a snuggle and they were trying to get them to go out to play or maybe their child wanted to play and they were pulling them in for a snuggle. Like it’s just a little mismatch that happens to all of us. So like nobody who’s listening to this don’t get stressed. Like we all do this. So repair is the key.

    Brittni (14:03.85)

    Okay, I love that. Well, and I’m just thinking about my daughter. Like she gets really whiny at night and it’s been something I’ve been working on because I’m like the whining is so triggering to me. And so my immediate reaction is to just like be like, Lila, like what are you whining about? I would assume that’s like a misattunement, right? Instead of saying like, she’s tired, she’s needing connection with me. So I’ve been focusing on like, okay, her whininess is just a communication of something that’s going on with her.

    Michelle Charriere (14:22.51)

    Mm -hmm.

    Brittni (14:31.53)

    instead of like getting triggered by it and almost shutting down, I can just tune into her and lean into that. So you just helped me even more. Like those are, that’s the 70%, right? But I’m actively trying to work on it.

    Michelle Charriere (14:45.39)

    Yeah, you’re actively conscious like, hey, we kind of weren’t in a flow there. Like you were wanting something I wasn’t able to give it to you or you were wanting something and I was overwhelmed with my own stuff. So people have to realize like, you’re gonna this is going to happen. This happens with my son and I like he’s been screaming a lot lately just during the day and I I get worked up from that because I’m like, I don’t know what you want. And

    Brittni (14:49.994)


    Brittni (14:54.73)


    Brittni (15:03.05)


    Brittni (15:06.986)


    Michelle Charriere (15:08.814)

    like in that moment then right away I’m like okay this isn’t helping either of us. So the the expectation isn’t that we are perfect 30 percent, 70 percent, whatever percent you want to throw out. It’s that we’re just trying our best to read their cues and we’re getting back on track when we’ve missed it basically.

    Brittni (15:25.034)

    I love that. And to bring up the sleep training piece, I think you’ve shared this on Instagram maybe, but one thing that I’ve read is when you sleep train and you’re physically misattuning yourself to your child’s needs. So even though it’s only, let’s say nighttime is only, is the other 70 % that you’re misattuning, but you’re attuning during the day, are you…

    really attuning after you’ve kind of shut off that attunement to their cries at night.

    Michelle Charriere (15:56.718)

    Yeah, so I get a lot of crap for this because there isn’t a study on it. It’s like you’re not allowed to talk about anything that’s not in a study. And I’m like, are you for real? Like, you know how many people are left out of studies and like how many people there are in the world? Like we cannot like obviously research is so helpful and informative, but like we cannot put ourselves in a box with blinders on. So when I bring that up, I get a lot of crap because yeah, there isn’t anything that talks about that. But my concern and I’ve actually talked about this with other people.

    Brittni (16:03.146)


    Michelle Charriere (16:24.622)

    on Instagram, like Dr. Rocio, we’ve had conversations about this, that if we are training ourselves, because let’s be real, if we’re training our children, but we’re preventing our response and we’re depending on a timer, you know, obviously sleep training looks different for everyone, but to some extent, there’s a structure with timers and response times. You’re training yourself too. It’s not just your child. This is a dyad. Like you are inhibiting your behavior. You are, you know, clocking your behavior to some kind of schedule. I am concerned.

    that that could also seep into other areas of life. But I also recognize it might not. And for some it may. Like it’s not, I don’t think it’s a hundred percent across the board, but that is my big concern, especially when people say, well, it was just a few days or it was just a few weeks or we’ve only had to do it every few months. But like if you’re teaching yourself, okay, I can pause this long before I respond to my child. Are you going to do that when they’re a toddler and they hurt themselves or they’re a toddler and they need your help, you know, with something else?

    It might not happen, but that’s my big concern.

    Brittni (17:27.818)

    Yeah, well, and that’s, I think another thing is a lot of the sleep training studies, and I’m kind of going on a tangent here, but I have you here, so I’m like, I wanna pick your brain and talk about it, but a lot of the studies, they talk about how parents are reporting that baby was happier after sleep training, and that always baffles me because I’m like, okay, so are we just taking these parents’ words for it? Of course they’re going to want to perceive their child as happier, but.

    Michelle Charriere (17:36.334)

    It’s okay. Yeah.

    Brittni (17:56.554)

    Could it be that they’re getting more sleep as parents, so now that they have a happy -go -lucky attitude on life? Could it be that now they’re misattuning to kind of child’s emotions, so they’re not connected as deep to what’s really going on? I don’t know if you have any thoughts on that.

    Michelle Charriere (18:03.694)


    Michelle Charriere (18:11.342)

    Mm -hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I do. I worry about that and I worry about that. And then also just like the effectiveness of that method of reporting or the efficacy, because that’s also how they measure attachment in those studies. So to be honest, and I’m not afraid to say this, I’m not like so well versed in all the sleep training studies because I just know what I know about attachment. So I’m just like.

    Brittni (18:21.098)


    Brittni (18:30.186)


    Michelle Charriere (18:34.606)

    But with what I do know is they’re using parent reports about the relationship and the attachment relationship. And we know that’s not how you assess attachment. So it’s like, how would that even make sense? I don’t even know how that got past multiple scientists. Like it doesn’t make any sense to me. That’s just not how we do it.

    Brittni (18:50.218)

    is probably being paid for by some, I don’t know, crib company or something like that, or sleep trainers, who knows? And I told you I wanted to talk more about if we mess up. So being on the sleep training subject, let’s say, I know we’ve been kind of harsh to sleep training, but if I have somebody listening who, no, no, it’s okay. If I have somebody listening who did sleep train, how can they repair? What can they do moving forward?

    Michelle Charriere (18:53.71)


    Michelle Charriere (18:58.83)


    Michelle Charriere (19:06.67)


    Michelle Charriere (19:10.19)

    I know, I’m sorry.

    Michelle Charriere (19:20.206)

    Yeah. So the repair process is really going to be the same for anything that you do. So first you have to recognize, hey, I didn’t like what I did. What I did didn’t align with how I want to parent in this moment, how I want to parent moving forward. It didn’t align with what my child needed from me at the time. So we really need to gain that reflective capacity and that awareness first, because if we’re just…

    in denial about like something potentially not being great for our child, then we’re in a space where we’re not going to open up the opportunity for repair. And so that’s why I like to have the conversations. And it’s so hard because there’s a lot of defensiveness there. But we all do things and learn better later. Like we just we all do it. Like I even think just like the newborn days and like my son’s only two and I’m already like, I wish I did some of those things differently. I’m not even that far away from that. So we all.

    Brittni (20:06.442)


    Michelle Charriere (20:16.398)

    inevitably are going to look back and cringe a little bit, maybe that’s something that we’ve done. So we have to just accept that awareness. That’s the very first step. If we can’t get there, we can’t proceed. And then we have to really reflect on what did my child need from me in that moment? And what came up for me? Why wasn’t I able to meet that need or, you know, see them where they were at, meet them where they were at? Was I overstimulated? Was I overwhelmed? Was I lacking support?

    That’s gonna be really important because that could be a barrier that continues to come up. So if we don’t identify that and we’re just like, I’m sorry repair, give me a hug. That can happen again and again. So that part is also really important. So a lot of reflection goes into the repair process. So you would wanna realize, I sleep trained, I was so tired, I was lacking support.

    Maybe I’m not happy with that choice now, but I trust that when I was doing that, that’s what I felt was the best for me at that time. You do have to give yourself a little grace with that recognition. And then you’re just going to focus on really tuning in to that connection. It’s not about like repenting for your sins and begging for forgiveness from your child. Like they’re likely going to be like, what are you talking about? You’re just going to really focus on that attunement, reading those cues, because with…

    Brittni (21:25.482)


    Brittni (21:29.514)


    Michelle Charriere (21:36.174)

    attachment relationships, it’s about those foundational underlying long -term patterns. So if we begin a new way of responding and we’re really focusing on connection and attunement, we’re not saying you can undo anything that you’ve done, but you’re establishing that new pattern, that new expectation that when you call out to me, I’m gonna come to you. When you cry, I’m going to believe the legitimacy of your cries. So it’s not like this magical like thing that you can say, but.

    You know, Rachel, hey, sleepy baby, she shared a really great moment that she had. And I always use this as an example, and I never want to take credit for it because it wasn’t me. But she sleep trained her son, and then she talked to him about it when he was like four. And a lot of people are like, do you really talk to a child about something they won’t remember? Here’s the thing. They probably won’t remember. But if you bring up the conversation, hey, when you were little,

    Brittni (22:17.162)


    Michelle Charriere (22:27.566)

    And sometimes when you cried, we didn’t come to you because we thought that it was going to help you sleep. And it turns out maybe that wasn’t the best choice. I want you to know now that when you cry or when you need me, I’m going to do my absolute best to be there. And it could be as simple as that. And maybe your child’s going to be like, what the heck are you talking about? I don’t remember that. I was six months old. What you’re doing is you’re just opening up the conversation. You’re opening up that safe space for them for if.

    any reason a feeling came up that was related to that time, they know that they can come to you. They may not articulate it as, I remember you doing this. It’s just, hey, I need your help and I’m happy that I can express that to you. So don’t expect your child to understand everything about the repair or your language. It’s all about connection, emotional tone and connection, creating that safe space that they can connect with you in. Sorry, that was really long.

    Brittni (23:20.01)

    No, no, it was so good. And I will tell you, I have a large majority of my toddler clients are actually families who sleep trained and are now dealing with like little one coming into their room, little one having a really hard time. And I see that as a perfect opportunity to kind of repair all of that and say, hey, you know what? You’re feeling really insecure about nighttime right now, but we’re gonna be here. We’re gonna respond. We’re gonna make nighttime safe.

    So I think also like if those opportunities present themselves, just like you said, now you can kind of rewrite the story of what nighttime looks like in your house.

    Michelle Charriere (23:55.79)

    Yeah, yeah, you’re just establishing new patterns. You’re not going back to undo and like say the perfect apology and a lot of people focus on it in that way and it’s so much pressure and so much anxiety.

    Brittni (24:01.482)


    Brittni (24:06.186)

    Gosh, the pressure. And that’s, so I’m gonna use that as a perfect segue is, is this like intense pressure that we feel of like, okay, I need to have a healthy attachment. I need to be doing all the things, but what, and this is kind of on the same topic of repair, but can you assure us that if we lose our shit sometimes and yell, or we do kind of like when sometimes when Lila’s whining, I kind of go into this shutdown mode or this freeze mode where I just physically I’m like,

    Michelle Charriere (24:07.246)

    Mm -hmm.

    Michelle Charriere (24:25.742)

    I’m sorry.

    Brittni (24:36.074)

    my nervous system is shot right now, I cannot be what you need me to be, those moments are okay. Can you assure us that…

    Michelle Charriere (24:42.83)

    Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So like fleeting moments of disconnection in an otherwise loving and attuned environment, they’re likely not going to derail the attachment relationship. Where the concern comes in is if these aren’t fleeting moments, like these are defining the attachment relationship. Like your child has come to expect this from you frequently. And then that child is then changing their behavior to fit your needs because…

    Brittni (24:58.57)


    Michelle Charriere (25:11.918)

    your needs have overpowered that relationship. You’re not showing up for their needs, you’re tending to yours. So there’s again, going to be fleeting moments where we do that. I have that happen yesterday, okay? That happens where I get overwhelmed and I’m focused on my nervous system overwhelm, and I’m not seeing his in that moment. Repair is that other part of that equation. So we want to make sure that these moments aren’t the foundation.

    Brittni (25:24.81)

    He he.

    Michelle Charriere (25:37.454)

    They’re not defining the relationship and when they do happen that we recognize them. So we have to recognize them for ourselves so we can work to do better and recognize them in front of our little ones. Even if they’re really, really young, we want to say, mama yelled at you. That wasn’t your fault. Mom was feeling frustrated. Next time that happens, mom was going to take a deep breath. I’m going to try to do better next time. I’m sorry if I scared you. Like simple move on.

    Do better next time. Take a deep breath sooner next time. Catch yourself sooner next time. Don’t get as escalated next time. Little steps to getting better. It’s never going to be perfect.

    Brittni (26:14.698)

    I love it and just how powerful, was it you that shared? I think it was you that shared this on Instagram. How powerful is it that like, maybe it was a real, that you reposted from somebody, but that was like, I just realized I’ve apologized as many times today to my four -year -old as I received from my parents in my whole life or something like that. And it’s so true, how powerful that we can admit that we were wrong and show our children, I made a mistake, but I still love you.

    Michelle Charriere (26:33.454)


    Michelle Charriere (26:41.614)

    Yes, absolutely. Because the previous generations, or maybe I’m just thinking about my caregivers, like it literally is that amount. Like I probably apologize more times in the last week than I’ve even gone a hint of in my entire 34 years of existence.

    Brittni (26:45.194)

    I know.

    Brittni (26:48.81)


    Brittni (26:56.042)

    Yeah, I was just thinking about the repair. When I have yelled at Lila, I’ll tell her like, you don’t deserve to be yelled at. I was frustrated. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. And now like, if anyone even like even maybe like if they’re not like raising their voice in a mean way, but like if anyone raises her voice, she’ll be like, I don’t deserve to be talked to that way. And I’m like, I love it. Like, you know that how you should be treated. So if I wouldn’t have repaired.

    Michelle Charriere (27:17.934)

    I love you.


    Brittni (27:23.114)

    then she would have kind of had this narrative of like, it’s okay to be yelled at, it’s okay to be treated that.

    Michelle Charriere (27:29.55)

    Mm -hmm. Yeah, and that would follow her into her partner relationships, boss, professional relationships, all of those things.

    Brittni (27:33.642)


    Brittni (27:38.25)

    So the repair is almost kind of a beautiful thing of showing like, hey, you know what? I screwed up, but it’s also kind of a teachable moment of like how, like we can kind of show them, this is not how you should be treated and I made a mistake.

    Michelle Charriere (27:53.454)

    Yeah, and it teaches them that they can make mistakes and they’re still worthy of being connected to and loved by other people because if we as parents try to put on this like show that we’re perfect, then we like open up a space where our child doesn’t feel like they can mess up. So it’s really powerful to say like, I’m a human too, I mess up, this is how I recover and how I move forward. We want them to see that. We don’t, if you ever hear about a family who had this like facade of perfection, those people are pretty dysfunctional and messed up.

    Brittni (27:57.162)

    takes a year.

    Brittni (28:22.794)


    Michelle Charriere (28:22.926)

    Right? Like you see about you hear about them and like media and whatnot, like they’re like murdering people behind the scenes. It’s like not a good situation. Like you want to like mess up and show your child how to recover.

    Brittni (28:35.594)

    Have you, because you’re entering the really fun stage now, like where you can kind of really start seeing like your, I’m trying to like say a beautiful metaphor that’s not coming, but like your, all of the seeds that you’ve been sowing are now like coming out for your sun. Are you seeing like those fun moments where you’re like, my gosh, I really am like doing it right.

    Michelle Charriere (28:39.342)


    Michelle Charriere (28:46.094)


    Michelle Charriere (28:55.566)

    Yes, yes. And so he’s actually taking little deep breaths. When he starts to, yeah, he starts to scream. But it’s so funny, because we were going to like talk about mom guilt. And we’re talking about repair. I actually just felt really bad about this. And I said this to my husband yesterday, because I was so he’s still he’s two and like, I pretty much have to hold him the entire time. I’m making breakfast. That’s why my husband is like the dinner cooker. Cook.

    Brittni (29:00.714)

    how cute.

    Michelle Charriere (29:21.742)

    because he will just hold my leg and scream the entire time. But when it’s breakfast, I’m like, whatever, I could do this one handed. And he was just getting like screaming about something. And I started to be like, I don’t know what you want. And he took a deep breath because I was getting like worked up. And I felt so guilty about that, that like, my gosh, now he’s like associating this but.

    Brittni (29:34.954)

    Michelle Charriere (29:42.382)

    trying not to think of it in that way. He’s just recognizing that when escalation happens, we practice deep breaths together. And if anything, like he’s mirroring that to me and he’s like reminding me and it actually has stopped me in my tracks in those moments. And I’m like, if you’re a two year old taking a deep breath in this moment and I’m following your lead, I mean, I guess that means I’m doing something amazing in parenting, but I also feel like crap a little bit, but we’re gonna, you know, take this as a good thing and move on.

    Brittni (30:00.874)

    You are.

    Brittni (30:08.714)

    Well, and that’s a perfect segue into the mom guilt, which I feel like we’ve kind of talked about it, like with the repair piece, but any tips for like dealing with the mom guilt of like looking back on things that you’ve done or maybe like, like I know a lot, obviously I’m not you, but like I know just based off of my sleep certification and all of that, I know a lot about attachment. I know a lot about childhood development and I still make those mistakes and I still feel that guilt sometimes. So do you have any tips for moms who like,

    They’re wanting to do it right, they’re really trying, but then those moments of mom guilt come in.

    Michelle Charriere (30:43.662)

    Yeah, so one way that I like to think of it, and I think this is actually talked about in Circle of Security. It’s been a while since I’ve ran it, so I can’t remember the exact language. But when we get into this like tunnel of guilt, that’s really going to take us out away from these opportunities to connect. And that’s not to make us feel more guilty, but I think sometimes we…

    sometimes indulge in the guilt to like punish ourselves like I suck and I’m the worst mom ever and like I don’t deserve my child and it’s almost like we want to like punish ourselves for whatever we did and really that’s putting us in that tunnel where we’re not looking for opportunities to repair we’re not looking for opportunities to connect so I really try not to stay

    Brittni (31:09.034)


    Michelle Charriere (31:24.942)

    in that space too long because it’s not helping me, right? It’s like wrecking my mental health in that moment. And it’s certainly not helping me connect to my child. It’s not helping me connect to my partner, whoever it is that’s involved in the situation. I hope the way I said that didn’t isn’t going to make people feel more guilty, like, I indulge in my guilt too much. And so I really suck. It’s not what I mean there.

    Brittni (31:28.65)


    Brittni (31:43.018)

    No, I think it’s kind of a permission slip because when you’re I just like as you said that I’m like, my gosh, I’m so guilty of that of like getting into the mom guilt and then miss attuning more to like what Lila like focusing on like, I should have done this differently. And maybe I still have two hours left in the day. And so instead of using those two hours to like, wallow in self pity about all the bad things I did, I could be using those two hours to like, okay, this is a reset, I’m going to really just

    show up as the mom that I wanted to be. So I think I didn’t take, I don’t think, I hope people don’t take it that way, but I think it’s a great kind of opportunity to kind of reset.

    Michelle Charriere (32:17.998)


    Michelle Charriere (32:23.854)

    Yeah, and you can think of it as a cue. Like, sorry, I talk about reading your child’s cues. Like, guilt coming up can be like, that’s a cue to like, seek connection and to reflect, like, not stay in the guilt. Guilt is like a message. It’s like a notification on your phone. Okay, guilt is coming up for me. That means I need to reflect and connect, not stay isolated in this tunnel of shame. So, yeah.

    Brittni (32:27.05)

    No, you’re okay.

    Brittni (32:48.554)

    I love that, I love that. It’s like, I’m gonna start thinking of it that way. Like just notice that it comes and then I can like mark it and come back to it when I have time because the reflection piece is huge, right? Like you brought it up earlier. Was I feeling overstimulated? Is this triggering something really old for me that’s coming up right now? So the reflection piece, that was one big thing that I learned from you in Circle of Security is like the reflection piece of it.

    Michelle Charriere (33:07.694)

    Mm -hmm.

    Michelle Charriere (33:14.158)

    Yeah, it’s so important, literally in everything that we do, reflection is like, is going to be key, the key first step.

    Brittni (33:21.898)

    And I have two more questions for you. One big one I get is cry it out the same as crying in the car or is crying in the car the same as cry it out?

    Michelle Charriere (33:23.982)


    Michelle Charriere (33:33.006)

    Yeah, so this is so hard. So when people look at just like crying is the problem, then we can relate those two scenarios. And that’s what a lot of people in the sleep training industry do. Well, your child cries when you’re driving to the doctor’s appointment. So what’s the big deal with cry it out? Crying is not the most important factor in that scenario. It’s the intent in the parents actions and response.

    Brittni (33:52.074)

    Mm -hmm.

    Michelle Charriere (34:01.134)

    and it’s in the parents response. But then people will further get you here and say, well, you’re not really responding in the car. Your response is restricted. And that’s also some of our beef with the sleep training stuff is you’re restricting your responsible. You’re kind of doing that in the car because you’re upfront. You’re not picking them up. You’re not maybe doing all of the things. I just, I think the intent is so important. Like,

    we are driving to get to a place that we likely need to go for some reason, whether that’s a social connection or it’s an appointment or we’re getting groceries. We’re not expecting, we’re not doing this to modify our child’s behavior. We’re not taking them for drives and letting them cry in the car seat because we want to change something about the way they’re behaving, where that is what we’re doing with sleep training. So the intent is very, very different there. And I think that matters. Like,

    You know, sometimes I walk by my child and I actually bump him with, I accidentally bump him with my elbow. That’s so much different than being elbowing him on purpose, right? Like the pain may be the same for him. The intent there is going to be different. So we can’t just look at that surface level, the crying, the behavior. We have to look deeper. Like what is our intent? What are we looking to change? What are we looking to do? Is it probably some, are there some similarities in stress levels?

    Brittni (35:00.362)


    Michelle Charriere (35:20.142)

    Probably right like I’m not gonna sugarcoat that if they’re strapped in the car seat and they hate that and They hate being in the crib crying by themselves. Yeah, there’s probably some similarities in the stress there But what’s different again intent and how we’re trying to comfort them in the car seat We’re usually singing talking to them. We may pull over pull them out. We may play their favorite song We may do a variety of things sleep training. We’re following this rigid schedule arbitrary amounts of time restricting response so

    I think it’s completely different, but I can see why some people at first glance think that it’s the same thing.

    Brittni (35:55.434)

    Well, and what came up for me when you were saying that is the attunement piece, right? Like you’re attuned when they’re crying in the car. Like you actively, you’re like, I know me, I can already like feel my heart rate going up just remembering Lila crying in the car. But you’re actively like, I’m here, I know this is hard. Whereas like we talked about with the sleep training, oftentimes you’re closing the door and you’re like telling yourself, I can’t respond to these cries, I almost need to ignore them. So I think the attunement piece is there as well.

    Michelle Charriere (35:59.47)

    Mm -hmm.

    Michelle Charriere (36:06.542)


    Michelle Charriere (36:23.854)

    Exactly. And yeah, and sleep training is asking you sometimes to like remove your eye contact and to not speak. And those things are further, you know, adding to the misattunements where you’re not necessarily doing that in the car. And you know, the thing is, is I think we, if people feel that they have to sleep train, I think it could be made to be more attuned. It’s never going to be perfect because it’s always going to have some layer of misattunement.

    But I just wish, that’s why I wish this was recognized instead of just like complete denial of it from the industry, because it’s like, if you’re going to do that and there’s always going to be a market for it and there’s always going to be parents that use it, like make it a little bit more attuned. Don’t like deny everything that’s happening and that can really set them up better. It could preserve maybe some of those connected moments and preserve some of that relationship, but I don’t think that will ever happen.

    Brittni (37:15.914)

    Unfortunately, no, because then they will stop making money, right? They want us to be very like afraid and feel like we have to do it. I have one last question. It’s a spicy question, but I know that you’re not afraid of spicy questions, but I won’t mention names. But recently on the Internet, there has been a page that has been talking about how if your child can’t play independently, they don’t have a secure attachment as a mom who.

    Michelle Charriere (37:24.686)


    Michelle Charriere (37:29.866)


    Michelle Charriere (37:41.55)


    Brittni (37:43.178)

    Independent play really did not become a reality in my home until Lila was like two and a half, three years of age. And still even then it was like 10 minutes coming to check in. Can you speak to that?

    Michelle Charriere (37:54.734)

    Yeah, yeah. And you know what, do you mind if I bring something up from Circle of Security that I remember you saying? It’s not a bad thing, but I remember you had this light bulb moment because we talked about how children explore and they’re not always moving away, they’re not always out away from their caregivers, that it just matters that they’re focusing on their world, even if they’re right next to you. And I remember you being like, holy crap, like that’s profound. And so yeah, saying that…

    Brittni (37:58.922)

    No, no. Yeah.

    Brittni (38:17.226)


    Michelle Charriere (38:21.806)

    children who can’t independent play are not secure. The problem is that there’s like these little pieces of like somewhat truths in there that just get totally spun into something that’s just fear -mongering. Like I genuinely don’t understand how that content is supposed to help parents at all. Like I don’t get what, like there’s no like…

    Brittni (38:40.298)


    Michelle Charriere (38:43.15)

    It’s such rigid rules that does not account for temperament or anything at all. So yes, is it true that some insecure children are going to have a hard time exploring their world because they’re more involved with attending to their parents’ anxieties and their parents’ issues, and so they don’t feel safe to explore? That’s true. But the statement that was made is that children who can’t explore on their own are insecure, and that highly sensitive children are likely all.

    insecure. And that’s just not the case because we have to take temperament into account. Some children are going to prefer to explore really close to their caregivers and some children are not going to go off and independently play for even five minutes until they’re well into their toddler years like you just said. And my child doesn’t like we’re lucky. Basically, it’s only when he’s pooping. Like he’s like, we’re like he has to be the pooping right now. That’s the only reason that he’s playing by himself and literally like 99 % of the time that’s the case.

    Brittni (39:32.97)

    That’s so funny.

    Michelle Charriere (39:43.662)

    So I feel like I kind of went off track a little bit on that one. Did I miss anything there? Okay.

    Brittni (39:47.082)


    No, I don’t think so. I think my biggest question was like, if a child isn’t playing independently, is that immediate cause for concern?

    Michelle Charriere (40:00.75)

    Yeah, no. And yeah, okay. That was my other gripe. I’m glad that I, you repeated that. So that person is looking only through a lens that is only looking at the child’s behavior. Child won’t play independently. When we’re looking at the attachment relationship, talking about the attachment relationship.

    See, this is how you know that this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about at all. We’re looking at the relationship. Attachment is a relationship. We look at two people. You can’t have a relationship just like with a baby on their own. So you can’t just look at that child’s behavior. You have to look at how is that parent presenting in that relationship? What type of support is that parent providing to that child in their play? So then if you consider the parent’s behavior and we see…

    really anxious parent who’s continually disrupting their child, they’re intrusive, they’re controlling the play, then we may say that child’s not independently playing maybe because some insecurity in the attachment relationship. We’ve considered the relational context. That makes sense. If we are looking at just the child, but then maybe we look at the parent and they are very attuned and they are relaxed.

    but their child just has a temperament where they seek proximity more often because maybe they’re sensitive to their environment. They’re getting dysregulated a little bit more often by noises or smells or things going on. And so they’re going back to that secure base for that comfort a little bit more often. That would be a sign of security. They are seeking out their secure base when they feel dysregulated, unsafe or need support. So relational context, my friends, that is what’s most important.

    Brittni (41:31.018)

    I love that. Yeah. And they feel secure enough to seek that from you, right? Like they know I’m going to go ask for what I need and it’s going to be given to me.

    Michelle Charriere (41:41.71)

    Exactly. Yes. And the big difference with an insecure child staying close versus a secure child seeking closeness is the insecure child is staying closeness out of fear that something’s going on with their caregiver, the environment’s not safe, or I’m not going to get my needs met. I’m not going to be safe when I go to do these things. The secure child is seeking support because they know they need it. They’re attuned with their own needs and they know they have that confidence in that relationship that they can get those needs met from that person. So,

    Brittni (41:52.778)

    Mm -hmm.

    Michelle Charriere (42:09.678)

    If you ever see anybody just talking about like one behavior isolated on their own, trying to say that it’s a sign of insecurity, just like I would boldly say, just like write that person off and don’t go to them for attachment advice because they’re not considering the context.

    Brittni (42:22.986)

    Totally. Well, and I think one big takeaway is the relationship piece of it, right? And it’s, there’s, you’ve described attachment before as like a, I can’t, maybe you’ll know the word, but like, well, like multifaceted for lack of a better term, right? So we can’t just say like one thing or one action is going to determine all the whole attachment.

    Michelle Charriere (42:43.374)

    Yeah, I mean, you can even think of this in like our intimate partner relationships. Like there’s not like one thing that a person does that always derail. I mean, there’s maybe some big things. OK, we’re not talking we’re not even when we’re talking about children. Obviously, there’s like abuse and neglect and those things can absolutely be a one time thing. So we’re not talking about extreme things, but it’s built up stuff over time without repair. It’s it’s like that.

    Brittni (42:48.01)


    Brittni (42:55.978)


    Brittni (43:09.002)


    Michelle Charriere (43:10.126)

    in any of our relationships. And so it’s not that obviously attachment relationships are different because these beings are dependent on us to meet their needs and keep them alive. But it’s just so dynamic and so nuanced and so many layers. And when we try to simplify it, like when professionals who aren’t specialized try to simplify it for parents, they’re doing them a disservice. They’re causing more fear, more anxiety. I genuinely don’t get the purpose of it, honestly.

    Brittni (43:37.61)

    Yeah, I think the biggest thing they’re doing is trying to scare us, like especially in the sleep training industry, right? They want us to be afraid or with this other person, she wants us to buy her course, right? So that we can make our children play independently. But I digress. I think that those final words on the attachment were like a perfect way to wrap this up. Do you have any last minute words or anything that you feel like we didn’t touch on, but that’s really important for parents to know?

    Michelle Charriere (43:53.422)


    Michelle Charriere (44:06.894)

    I think when it comes to repair and even the way I talked about it, I was talking about like, this is a process you do for your child. But I do think that there’s a lot of repair that needs to be done within ourselves. And I guess I briefly mentioned that when we need to reflect on what came up for us, because that could present as a barrier. But it’s when that mom guilt comes up or when something triggers us from our past, like we do have to repair with ourselves and say like, hey, like you deserve.

    tenderness and grace and you deserve to move on with confidence and self -esteem and you know feeling loved and connected and so I think that repair process goes for not just what we do with our children but also with us and what comes up for us too.

    Brittni (44:52.97)

    love that because I think that’s so important because if we’re not like healing ourselves and taking care of ourselves we can’t obviously show up as the best versions that we want to as parents so I love that thank you. So where can we before we say goodbye I’m sure most of my followers follow you but where can we find you anything exciting coming up that we can look forward to with you?

    Michelle Charriere (45:03.534)


    Michelle Charriere (45:16.75)

    Yeah, so I’m Babies and Brains on Instagram. Babiesandbrains .com is my website. And then I’m trying, I’m dabbling in a little TikTok stuff, but my name is Michelle Scharrier over there. Cause I felt weird sharing like personal stuff. And then my name was Babies and Brains and nobody knows me over there. So they’re like, what the heck’s this lady doing? So those are, those are, that’s where I’m at now. And then, yes. So I am bringing back my toddler tantrums masterclass. A lot of people have been asking about it. So if that is someone listening has been wondering, it’s supposed to come back sometime in the first half of June.

    Brittni (45:31.114)


    Michelle Charriere (45:46.541)

    date is not set. I’m a big procrastinator. Like I don’t figure out my launches until like a couple weeks before. So that will be that will be coming back soon and it will be opening up permanently. So it’s not going to close again. So that will be really exciting. And then I do have a child care and preschool transitions guide and a welcoming a new sibling guide. I don’t talk about them enough, but they are there and there’s a ton of information in that.

    Brittni (46:11.914)

    Perfect. Well, I will share your website below. Also, just for anybody listening, keep an eye out on her stories because she does a really good job of letting you know. I don’t know if you’re doing a wait list, Michelle, but she does a good job of letting you know if the wait list is open. So if this will be launching beginning middle of June, so it’ll be perfect timing. So head to her stories and keep an eye out for that. But thank you so much, Michelle, for taking the time to chat with us. This was so much fun.

    Michelle Charriere (46:23.694)


    Michelle Charriere (46:39.118)

    Thank you. I enjoyed that I could talk about this all day. So thanks for having me.

    Brittni (46:41.866)

    Of course.

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