Lauren A. Tetenbaum, LMSW, JD, PMH-C is an advocate and therapist certified in perinatal mental health who specializes in life transitions affecting millennial and young women. hurdles of entrepreneurship
With an approach grounded in empathy and emotional intelligence, Lauren counsels clients on romantic relationships, career choices, pregnancy and parenting, anxiety, and family dynamics. She offers cognitive behavioral and feminist-based psychotherapy to individuals and couples.
A mother of two with over a decade of experience in the legal industry, Lauren also facilitates support groups for working, new, and aspiring parents and provides consulting and mental health coaching to support parents in corporate settings. She is passionate about building connections and giving back to her community. I should also note that Lauren is a recent graduate of Center for Pediatric Sleep Management!! hurdles of entrepreneurship
On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.
Lauren is an advocate and therapist certified in perinatal mental health who specializes in life transitions affecting millennial and young women. With an approach grounded in empathy and emotional intelligence, Lauren counsels clients on romantic relationships, career choices, pregnancy and parenting, anxiety, and family dynamics.
She offers cognitive behavioral and feminist-based psychotherapy to individuals and couples. A mother of two with over a decade of experience in the legal industry, Lauren also facilitates support groups for working, new, and aspiring parents and provides consulting and mental health coaching to support parents in corporate settings. She is passionate about building connections and giving back to her community. I should also note that Lauren is a recent graduate of the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management.
Jayne Havens: Lauren, welcome to the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. I am very excited to be chatting with you today.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Thank you so much for having me. I love your podcast. I love your work. So, I’m so excited to be here.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, I would love for you to share a little bit about why you decided to add certified sleep consultant to your resume. And what is it about sleep consulting that you felt fit within the work that you were already doing?
Lauren Tetenbaum: Sure. So, I am a mom. I have utilized the services of a sleep consultant when my kids were little, so I personally know the value of it. Professionally, I’m a licensed social worker, certified in perinatal mental health. I work a lot with postpartum parents, particularly mothers. And we’ve seen studies that show that up to one in five mothers can experience a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, which is a disorder — such as postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, OCD — during the pregnancy period through one-year postpartum.
One of the main resources for parents either at risk or in the throes of a PMAD, what we call a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, is sleep. Sleep is incredibly important to mental health. And it just fit very well with my services that I offer as a therapist, as a social worker. It’s personally and professionally very important to me to support parents in getting the sleep that they need, by helping their kids learn how to get the sleep that they need.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, it’s all so important. I love that you have recognized it, as a mental health professional, that sleep is such a crucial component to mother’s ability to thrive in those early months in like first year or so postpartum.
I’m wondering, because you’re a newly certified sleep consultant, have you thought about how you plan to integrate your new title as certified sleep consultant into your work that you’re already doing? Are you going to be a sleep consultant in the way that we think of sleep consultants, or are you just going to use this knowledge to better support the women that you’re already supporting?
Lauren Tetenbaum: Great question. For now, it’s already been the latter. I have several clients who are truly fresh new moms. And even just this week, I had three women with whom I met. They were talking about sleep training and getting the sleep that they needed, and how to navigate divvying up the sleep and the night schedule with their partners.
All of the knowledge that I learned from the course and from working with you, I’ve already been providing it as part of our work together. TBD as to whether I make it an independent offering. I am always happy to meet clients where they are and see what they need. So, we’ll see where it takes us.
Jayne Havens: Okay. I love that. Because the podcast is all about the business side of sleep consulting, I wanted to discuss some of the mental and emotional challenges that we as moms or mompreneurs face as we head back to work and as we launch new businesses.
Personally, one thing that I struggled with when I decided to launch my own sleep consulting business was my new identity. I was admitting to the world, or at least my network, that I wanted to start something new, that I wasn’t just going to be a stay-at-home mom anymore, but I was going to be a professional. That felt really scary. I’m wondering why it feels so hard to do that. Why does it feel so hard to admit that you want something new and something different from what you have? And sharing that with your network, it’s just so overwhelming.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Yeah, it definitely can be. And there’s no one reason. Women in general are conditioned to meet certain societal expectations. You and I are recording during the week of International Women’s Week. So, I’ve been talking about this topic of identity a lot. Promoting yourself as a woman who has an identity beyond parent or beyond professional or partner is so important to me. That can be your identity as someone who’s interested in sleep or starting their own business. And it’s not necessarily that they’re wearing their professional hat, but they’re wearing their hat where they’re embracing their creative side — something that is interesting to them, something that my mentor, Eve Rodsky, calls “unicorn space“.
It’s really hard. Because, again, we’re conditioned to just keep our heads down and do what people expect. Also, we have limited time. There are only so many hours in the day. Once you get the kids out to school, and if you do work outside the home, you’re working, so it’s like, how do you even have time to think about pursuing a hobby or a new business? It’s really a lot. Then, of course, putting yourself out there can be really challenging for people. But my biggest advice has always been to just take that first step. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start, because there won’t be one moment. And that, no one is judging you the way you’re judging you. So, go for it.
Jayne Havens: One thing that I really struggled with was sort of admitting both to myself and to my extended network, family, friends, Facebook universe, whatever it is, admitting that I wanted something more than just being the primary caregiver to my kids. I’ve discussed this. I’ve mentioned it on the podcast before.
It felt like I was saying that I didn’t want to prioritize my children. It felt like I was giving up my identity of being that stay-at-home mom that — I was always the mom that was the first in line in carpool. I had the snacks. I had them in cute outfits. That was my identity. I was caring for my kids and setting them up to be successful by meeting their every need in every moment. Then all of a sudden, I was going to have this new work opportunity, this new business. And it felt like I was putting them second, which now I know I wasn’t. But that’s how it felt in the moment. Do you hear a lot of that? I would imagine I’m not the only one that struggles with this.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Definitely. I mean, I think a term that can encapsulate what you’re describing is the “mom guilt,” whether that’s starting a new business, or your regular day job, or even going out for dinner with friends and missing bedtime. I push back on that, because we don’t often talk about sad guilt. That’s for a reason. Again, it goes back to societal expectations of what moms should be doing. I’m curious, Jayne. To turn it on you, what was the reaction from your friends and family and community when you said, “I’m interested in starting this new business opportunity”?
Jayne Havens: My community was incredibly supportive.
Lauren Tetenbaum: I expect that you’d say that.
Jayne Havens: Right. I imagine you assume that that would be the case. My extended network was incredibly supportive. They rally behind me. I would say that a large reason for why I have a successful business is because I have the support of my husband, my parents, my friends, my friends of friends. People came out of the woodworks to hear about what I was doing. They were genuinely interested. I think because sleep consulting is a service that so many parents need or would benefit from, everybody was so interested. Everybody was like, “I want to hear more about this. This sounds amazing. I need help. How can I work with you?” The excitement was definitely there. So, you’re right. This was something that was going on in my own mind.
It sort of leads me to my next objection that was going on in my own head. It was like, what are my friends going to think? That’s what I was worried about. I don’t know why I was embarrassed about that. Looking back on it, it seems silly. But at the time, I was so worried about what my friends would think. Most of them were incredibly supportive and really proud of me. Of course, there’s always a few people in your life that are going to be a little bit salty about something that has nothing to do with them, right? But you can’t do anything about that. Largely, I did have the support of my community.
Lauren Tetenbaum: I did expect that, and I’m super happy to hear that, of course. I work with a lot of women on their self-confidence, on self-compassion when things are hard. What would you tell a friend who’s trying something new? Probably you’d be really supportive. Even if you didn’t know what it was all about or even if you couldn’t possibly understand how she’s fitting it into her schedule, you would support her. So, I encourage people to be their own biggest advocates, their own biggest fans, not their own biggest critics, which is often our default position.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, absolutely. One thing that I talk about a lot on this podcast, and I want to bring it up with you, is imposter syndrome — the feeling that we are not smart enough, qualified enough, ready enough to get out there and do the work that we feel compelled and empowered to do. This is something that several years into my career I still come up against. I don’t know that it ever goes away. I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on this or tools for how to overcome it? Is this just something that separates those who keep carrying on from those who don’t? What are we supposed to do about these feelings?
Lauren Tetenbaum: Sure. So, my first piece of advice is to recognize them. Don’t beat yourself up for having them, but actually say, “Okay. I’m feeling a little bit insecure.” Then you can go about that insecurity in a couple of different ways. The first is, say to yourself, “Is this a reality? What is the evidence that I should be having this thought? Or is this, in therapeutic terms, a cognitive distortion?”
What you could do is literally write down the thought, and then reframe it in not even a positive way but a neutral way. Or then, you could take it a step further with that self-compassion piece and say, “What would my best friend say in response, or my mom, or my spouse—” whatever it is someone who really believes in you. Then think of it that way. It’s a mindset shift. Practicing that alternative interpretation really does change the way that you think about yourself.
The second thing or approach that I would recommend is reminding yourself that you care about this. In the therapy community, we often say that the most important factor in a therapeutic relationship or in therapy itself is the relationship between the therapist and the client. It’s not necessarily the therapist’s background, education, clinical expertise. It’s the relationship — whether they click with the client, and then whether they care and genuinely will find the resources that they might need to supplement their knowledge in a particular area, or refer out as needed, or whatever it is. But if you care, and you’re showing up, and you’re putting in your best effort to meet the client where they are, then I think the sky is the limit.
Jayne Havens: I love your suggestion of reframing it with the mindset of somebody that really cares about you and loves you and is cheering you on. That’s going to be my major takeaway from this, because I think that that’s gold right there.
When we don’t believe in ourselves, I think about the way I support my own children. I think about my 10-year-old who might struggle with his math homework, or my six-year-old who thinks that she can’t brush her hair on her own, or whatever it might be. I know that they’re capable of these things. The way that I support them, it’s sort of it’s just like sleep training.
This is what I always tell my clients. Actually, I just had this conversation today with a mom of a three-and-a-half-year-old, who was struggling at bedtime, struggling in the middle of the night. And literally, towards the end of our two weeks together, he started doing it on his own. The reason he started doing it on his own is because his parents started believing in him. Once his parents started believing that he was capable, he felt that. And he was like, “Okay. My parents believe I can do this. I believe I can do it, too.”
That’s exactly what you’re describing, and this is what we coach our clients through all the time. Then we need to practice that I think in our own minds and in our own hearts. I love the idea of when I’m feeling insecure, I’m going to think about what my mom would say. Because she will cheer me on, and she’ll tell me I’m capable. And you’re right, that it’s just a mindset shift.
Lauren Tetenbaum: And it’s also okay to start small and to try and then try again. But I think we owe it to ourselves to be kinder to ourselves.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I love that. I wanted to bring up a different topic, but I think it’s still related. One thing that changed for me when I launched my business and became a sleep consultant is the shift in the balance of our household.
At first, I was wondering, is my spouse going to be supportive? He proved to be very supportive. Even if I think back even further when I had this idea, was I scared to even ask him? Like, “Hey, I had this idea. I think I want to do this.” I remember actually being nervous to even bring it up with him. How was he going to respond? Was he going to be supportive? Was he going to understand my vision? Then also, how that changed our family dynamic. Because when I went from being a stay-at-home mom that’s primary role was to do everything for the house and for the kids, once I started working, then there needed to be a little bit of a shift where we both shared in some of those responsibilities.
What are your thoughts on that? Again, I think some of it is a mindset issue where we need to just change the way we think about things. But do you have any tools or recommendations for how women who are in this position where they’re wanting to maybe change their role professionally, but they’re not sure how that’s going to impact their relationship with their spouse or their whole dynamic within their household?
Lauren Tetenbaum: Sure. Every household, every relationship is different. So, I don’t want to put a blanket statement out there of, “Well, of course, your spouse should be supportive, and they should be,” that person cheering you on, and the one that you think of. Because unfortunately, the reality is, that’s not always the case. And there’s sometimes work to be done. But I do think that that is also something to aspire to, because I do believe that a partner should be a true partner in many senses of the word.
Any change is scary. And even if you have the most well-intentioned partner, it can still feel really nerve wracking, especially if it’s a new business. That can change the dynamic in terms of income. Maybe you’re spending money at the outset to make money. Maybe you’re stepping away from your current job. Maybe you’re stepping out of the role of doing pickup every day at school, whatever it may be. So, I think certainly having some open conversations about what that might look like is important.
But going back to the idea of taking it slow and small at the beginning, I think, is really key. Because it’s intimidating to say, “From now on, I’m never going to be available to do school drop off.” I don’t know if that’s really what it even will look like. And that may be really jarring. So, I would say, “What’s up for the week ahead? Can you do drop off Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday? We’ll get a babysitter or dad can do it the other days,” whatever it might be. Really collaborating, working as a partnership to navigate the next steps.
I remember when I launched my private practice, I am a former lawyer, always also a social worker. But I used to work in the legal industry, both as a lawyer and in a coach/social worker type of role. And so, I was in corporate America. I, for a variety of reasons, wanted to go out on my own and be an entrepreneur — which is something I never imagined for myself. I really had no inkling that I would be doing that. But I was super inspired, super passionate. I remember this was when my husband was still working from home too during the pandemic. We are sharing an office. I looked at him and I said, “I think I can really do this.” He said, “Go for it.” I hope that everyone has that kind of support.
Jayne Havens: Looking back on your own start in your entrepreneurial journey, do you think you had realistic expectations for your own success? Were you patient with yourself? Did you give yourself time to build? I think it’s so normal and really natural for us to get into new lines of work, especially if we’re working for ourselves. We just want to like snap our fingers and be successful, or we just want to have snap our fingers and have a full book of business. Did you give yourself grace when you were getting started?
Lauren Tetenbaum: I did. I know that we’re not on video, but I’m kind of laughing because I am not a patient person. I run anxious. A lot of therapists do. That’s why we got into the work. But of course, I said, oh, I’m ready for teams. Please happen overnight. But I actually kept reminding myself this will take time. This is a moment. This is the beginning.
While I was working towards building the income piece of it, I kept myself busy with things that were contributing to the business but also things that I enjoyed doing, such as things like podcasts and writing articles and going to events. Not all of those are for everyone, and that’s fine. But I knew that they were both filling my cup emotionally because I was connecting with people, and that’s what I like to do. But also, planting the seeds for future business and that has proven to be true. The year one compared to now, year three, even of my own business has been incredible.
Jayne Havens: I always tell people that — that you have to enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy the process of building your business, it’s going to be very difficult to land with a successful business. I don’t even want to say the end of the road, because you and I both know there is no end. But if you’re not enjoying all of the business building pieces, it’s very difficult to have success. I spent way more time building my business than I even do servicing individual clients. And so, I think you have to really enjoy that piece. Because then, when you finally land a client, that’s like a tiny little sliver of the work that we do. Then it’s back to more business building again.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Right. And I don’t want to speak for you, but I’ve seen you in action when it comes to building your business. In my perception, you seem to be loving what you’re doing. That’s amazing to see. I think you’re super authentic, and you’re very supportive but also a very good teacher. And I really commend you for that.
Jayne Havens: Oh, thank you. Thank you. I’m always trying to find people to join the CPSM community that really truly have that fire within them. I don’t want somebody to enroll in the program just because they want to make a few extra bucks. I want somebody to enroll in the program, because they enjoy the process. They want to grow as an entrepreneur, they want to grow as a support person as a sleep consultant, and that every single thing that they learn along the way is something that they’re scooping up, and they love it. They love it. That, to me, is the perfect person to join our community.
I try to model that because I really do truly live that myself. I’m constantly still learning. I take courses. I’m not done. I’m enrolled in two courses right now. I read books, and I read blogs. I listen to other podcasts. It’s a constant, constant effort to stay at — I don’t even want to say like the top of my game, but just at a place that keeps me moving.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Yeah, I think you’re describing feeling both fulfilled but also challenging yourself in a way that’s comfortable for you. Meaning, not stressing you out but challenging. It’s good to be challenged, right? You’re learning, and you’re open minded. You’re saying yes to opportunities, which is what I always recommend as well.
I have a friend, for example, not in the sleep consulting world. But she is an entrepreneur who was in a similar situation to what you were describing earlier of being a stay-at-home parent and navigating her identity for what was next. She launched this business that even she is still working on defining. But we talk all the time. That’s okay. You don’t need to define it. You don’t need to put yourself in a box. She’s performing. She’s running classes. She’s writing, and she’s going. That’s awesome. Whatever your industry is, if you have a passion and a purpose, go for it.
Jayne Havens: I love that. I think that making peace with the process is really crucial. We have the tendency — I think we’re living in a world where we’re seeing on social media that people are having this rapid and immediate success, which I think is usually not accurate. What is it called when it’s fake on social media? I don’t even have a term for that. But it’s just smoke and mirrors, right?
Lauren Tetenbaum: Smoke and mirrors, yeah.
Jayne Havens: It’s smoke and mirrors. I think people, sometimes they’ll look at me and they’ll say, “Oh, she got lucky. She was successful right away.” It’s like, No, I’ve worked very, very hard. I kept going one foot in front of the other. I didn’t give up.
I actually was having a terrible day yesterday, if it means anything to anybody. Then this morning, also terrible. Then this afternoon, like right before I got on this podcast, I was thinking like, “Oh, I’m in a horrible state of mind right now.” Then two things right in a row happened that were fabulous, and brought me back up to life again. I think that that is the emotional roller coaster that is entrepreneurship. It’s that people will punch you down and beat you up. Then something will happen, and you get built back up. Then you’re on the top again.
You have to be able to survive the lows so that you can see the highs again. Not everybody is cut out for it. Every single time I’m down in that bottom pit, I always feel like I’m never going to come out of it again. And then you do. I think ultimately it makes you stronger. So, you have to be willing to survive those difficult moments to keep going. I think that that’s ultimately what separates people who achieve success from people who achieve less success. If you can handle the tough moments and get over those beat downs, then you come back up.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Right. I agree. Also, if you’re struggling with doing that, there are tools that you can implement. Notably, the support and community that you can find and definitely should seek out especially if you’re a solo entrepreneur. Because that can be very lonely, but it need not be. I would say it should not be. I know that you mentioned social media, and it is so easy. Of course, we all do it to compare ourselves. But like you said, a lot of it is smoke and mirrors. A lot of it.
People aren’t posting their struggles, or their bad deeds, or the work that they’re doing on spreadsheets or whatever behind the scenes. That’s okay. Take it for what it is, and reach out for support. Remember that everything is temporary. We’re all going to have bad days, bad moments sometimes, because we’re human beings. It’s okay to sit with that, and it’s also okay to ask for help to get out of that. It’s wonderful to learn from people who have had success. I am a huge advocate for women supporting women. It’s incredibly important, even if they’re in a similar or the same fields. Because we are stronger and more successful together.
Jayne Havens: I completely agree. You and I, we could preach to each other’s choir all day long on this. I think that that is really the magic of Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. We have all of these people inside of our program that are all doing — I don’t want to say the exact same thing but like a very similar thing, and supporting one another at the highest level. I do think that that is ultimately what leads to more sustainability in your business.
It’s very easy to take a backseat if you don’t have anybody asking you how you’re doing. And so, I personally like to always check in with everybody as much. I’m checking in every week. Every month we do weekly brag threads and monthly accountability threads. I think when people are checking in on you, that really positions you to keep going.
If you feel like nobody’s paying attention and nobody’s noticing that you’re struggling, that can be really, really hard. I have to work to then find my own community. Because I’m always supporting, I’m busy supporting everybody else, I need to find some people that can support me too. We all deserve that type of that support in business. It was really refreshing to talk to you today. I feel like I had a little therapy session.
Lauren Tetenbaum: I hope it’s better now.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I feel like I had a little therapy session. So, I’m very grateful. Before we wrap up, where can everybody learn more about you? Do you want to share your website, social media, whatever you’d like to share?
Lauren Tetenbaum: Sure, my website is latcounseling.com. I am on Instagram as thecounselaur, spelled L-A-U-R. I love chatting with people. I am in New York where I provide therapy, but I provide coaching and consulting around sleep, of course, and around working parenthood, gender equity, the mental load to everyone, everywhere. So, reach out for support.
Jayne Havens: Thank you, Lauren. Great chatting with you today.
Lauren Tetenbaum: Me, too.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support.
If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.