KATIE COURIC MEDIA: Tell us about Honey and some of the services it provides for women. Why did you see a need for this sort of company?
BROOKE MILLER: We are a mental health studio that offers psychotherapy in the form of individual, couples, and group support, and we are also a social space. There’s an openness because everyone’s there for the same reason—they were brave enough to reach out for support. I’m so proud of everyone who walks through these doors. It’s their way of saying “I care about myself, and my family, and even though everything is telling me that I should be happy and fine, I am perceptive enough to realize that I don’t need to do this all on my own.”
I’m a licensed psychotherapist, and when we first started Honey I was a new mom of two. I started Honey because I needed Honey. I felt like I could run it—and hold the space for the community of moms who come to Honey—because I understood the pain and intensity and complexity of what they were feeling. I process my own emotions best in the company of others— through talking and being supported by a community.
One of the things that I hear the most often about my company from other women is, “I had the idea for something like this years ago, and I can’t even believe someone actually created it.” So there was a need for this—a need for mothers and families to be seen and heard in a way they hadn’t been before.
KCM: What was it about the mental health and motherhood space that you felt needed to be disrupted?
BM: I often see ads targeted towards mothers that say, “If you buy our product or participate in our service, then motherhood is going to be way easier, better, or more joyful.” At Honey we want to disrupt the idea that there is some sort of “goal” of motherhood that you should be striving for.
If you see a promise of something that will help you to hurry up and feel better, or will fix your problems as a mother, that’s not respecting the complexity of your humanity. Motherhood does not need to be fixed. If motherhood feels different than you expected it to feel, you’re not broken. You are simply more complex than you ever knew you were.
KCM: Many women, and mothers, in particular, have been conditioned to think motherhood should be all joy, all the time. How are you trying to change that perception?
BM: We’re trying to debunk the myth that joy is the only ingredient in a very complex recipe. Every experience, every job we have, every relationship, every moment is made of more than one ingredient. It’s not about diluting the joy, it’s about accepting that motherhood is both beautiful and messy.
Our job at Honey is to reignite the value of maternal instincts by shedding a light on the complexities of motherhood so that we can experience it and appreciate it in full. We also want to disrupt this idea that motherhood is some sort of secret club that completely excludes those who are not physically mothers. By offering couples therapy and with our 90-minute Honey Groups, we aim to make motherhood accessible.
KCM: Tell us about the corporate consulting you do. Why do you think it’s so important that employers be trained on perinatal mental health?
BM: I heard from so many moms that they had no idea how to process returning to work. This transition could cause such stress, depression, anxiety, issues in marriages, and even attachment challenges with baby.
I became passionate about bringing my voice into the corporate setting to explain that the human beings who are working for these organizations are also making people, not going on a three-month vacay. Once a woman has made a human, and brought that life out into the world, she might need a minute to situate. The structure in corporate America works really well, but often the policies don’t work. They’re short-sighted, and they are archaic in a lot of ways. So I began holding support groups for parents on-site at businesses. Then we began working with different HR teams and consulting on maternity leave packages. Our main goal was to show that supporting a mother or father’s mental health is something that will ultimately create more stability and longevity for those employees in the workplace.
KCM: Family and work are often thought of as needing to be separate parts of a woman’s life, and that if a woman has both she’s not doing either well. How is Honey disrupting the space to challenge that idea?
BM: We know that companies see the value in promoting mental health. I’ve seen companies arrange for meditation trucks to be outside of their organization so that people can meditate. Meditation is one of the most holistic practices in existence. If companies can recognize it benefits them if their employees care for their whole selves, I want to help them take it a step further and recognize that for mothers, a huge part of that whole self is their children.
I’m not saying you should be able to bring your three kids into work with you and let them sit on the floor next to your desk all day and everything will be fine. That’s what happened to so many families during Covid. People were expected to parent fully, and then somehow braid their work in with the expectation that everything would get completed in the same way. It’s ridiculous. There needs to be a way to integrate ourselves, and our motherhood, into our work life.
I want to challenge companies to see motherhood as an asset. The fact that a mom has to be worried before going into a job interview because there is a gap in her resume is asinine to me. To me, that gap in her resume says, “These are the years that I made a new person for this world. We both survived. I learned time management skills and patience and empathy.” Motherhood is not a gap on your resume. Motherhood is an addition to your set of skills, and it should be seen as an invaluable experience.
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