Rebecca Kennedy, or Dr. Becky to the millennials who follow her parenting advice on Instagram and other digital platforms, just published her first book, “Good Inside: A Guide to Becoming the Parent You Want to Be,” which builds on conversations from her online membership community and podcast. A clinical psychologist, Dr. Kennedy, 39, lives in an apartment on the Upper West Side with her husband and their sons, 10 and 5, and their daughter, 7.
CHAIR, POSE I’m up before my children, usually by 5:30. If I sleep close to 6, even on a Sunday, it feels like a big win. I have quiet time before the list of care tasks begins. I sit in my favorite chair, which kind of wraps around me, in the living room and look out the windows and sip my coffee. Then I’ll open up Peloton and do a yoga class in the apartment, either one with Chelsea Jackson Roberts or Kristin McGee. I love both of them.
THE RULES My kids know the morning’s allowed to begin when it’s 7. That’s our rule. My youngest might come out then and start playing with “Paw Patrol” figurines, setting up scenes and things like that, until the others are up. Or he might do some version of downward dog with me while I finish my class.
KITCHEN DUTIES When the older two are up, we start to make breakfast as a family. That’s definitely a big thing. My husband makes pancakes, or I do. But it’s better if he does because I mess up the batter or burn them. We encourage the kids to help out. They do, but it isn’t as smooth as it sounds. My daughter will want to use a knife someone else is using, or it will be, “No, that’s my area.” There’s always an argument happening. But we sit down for breakfast together.
DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS My daughter plays soccer, and my oldest is really into baseball. So depending on the schedule we’ll either do all of it together or my husband will take my older son to baseball, I might take my younger son to soccer or my parents might come in to help. They’re in Westchester. They’re very involved. When I feel like I need a hand or I’m overwhelmed or the three kids need to be in three different places, they’re the people I call.
MEET-UP After lunch we’ll meet some good family friends at River Run Playground or Hippo Playground or Elephant Playground, all in Riverside Park. My kids will usually scoot there. My husband and I will walk behind them. We get a little downtime. I also generally do a farmers’ market shop with one or two of my kids.
TEAM SPIRIT In the later afternoon we’re watching football. My husband is from the Boston area. Part of our deal for living in New York is to raise the kids as Boston sports fans, continuing his lineage, so they’re big Patriots fans, especially my husband and my oldest son. I’m part of the Boston sports fandom, but I’m not the ardent fan my husband and son are.
SEGUE That will take me into the evening. My kids all take showers now, thank goodness, because having to give a bath can be so draining physically and emotionally. The starting bedtime for our youngest one is 7 p.m. I’ll read him a book. I love so many children’s books. They give such an amazing opportunity to have meaningful moments, short spurts of conversation. I might say, “Hmm, I wonder what that character is going to do,” or “What do you think happens at the end of the book?” or “That reminds me of being that age. Did you know I was also left out?”
BATHROOM HUMOR One of the most popular videos in our “Good Inside” membership is a tooth brushing game I think I made up when my oldest son was four or five called “Brusha Brusha Broosh Broosh.” Of course I make the sounds when you’re brushing your teeth, and when we get to the end I make a really long “broooooosh” sound. And you have to get to the toilet to spit out before I get to the toilet first. Sometimes there’s a mess, but it’s a way of avoiding the power struggle and it’s worth it in my book. The mess is the result of letting yourself have some fun. With my youngest son we do a big hug and a squeeze at bedtime. I always talk about filling you up with mommy for the night and me filling up with you.
GAMES PEOPLE PLAY Different bedtimes mean my 7- and 10-year-olds are maybe still up watching the Patriots game. We’re also big on games in my family. We might sit around a card table and play Rat-A-Tat Cat. We’re big into Boggle, too. My son and daughter read themselves to sleep. And then what might happen is my husband might turn on a show, and I’ll watch for 20 minutes and say, “Oh, I’m so tired, we need to pause it.” If I’m on the couch in that mode, I start to get tired. That’s by about 9:15.
WORK CREEPS IN If I bring my phone to bed, which I usually don’t, I’ll be looking at work stuff or checking on our membership community. There’s a ton of posts. Such good things happen in there, people sharing things, the honesty and vulnerability. I’ll want to make a video for someone or jot some thoughts down. I do that during the day, too.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Dr. Becky on Instagram @drbeckyatgoodinside.