Katerina Sorokina: Intuitive Motherhood
Katerina Sorokina, PhD in Pedagogy, is an experienced professional in various fields of psychology and a mother of an already grown-up son. For more than 28 years, she has been exploring the relationship between parents and children and the ways of human development. Ms. Sorokina created the School of Intuitive Motherhood to share her professional and personal experience with thousands of other women in need of support. Today, the project brings together Russian-speaking mothers from 40 countries.
PhD in Pedagogy, psychologist, neuropsychologist, perinatal psychologist, author of the Intuitive Motherhood project
Different sciences try to understand and explain unity from different angles but Katerina Sorokina can see it in every person. In her work, the expert integrates what she learns from different areas of her scientific interest: biology, psychophysiology, psychology, anthropology, and pedagogy. Ms. Sorokina believes that no matter how a person tries to fit him- or herself and his or her actions into certain regularities and algorithms, he or she will still remain one-of-a-kind. This is the key principle in Katerina Sorokina’s professional activity.
Today, the expert is a mentor to thousands of mothers living in different cities and countries. She teaches them to understand their children and get along with them, see their individuality, guide them to develop, and discover their natural potential. Most importantly, Katerina Sorokina teaches women to understand themselves, trust themselves and their intuition, enjoy motherhood, and use it as a path to development.
– Your work includes very different areas of knowledge. What is your basic education?
– I started my career at the age of 17 in an institution for supplementary education for children. Then I graduated from the Nizhny Novgorod Dobrolyubov State Linguistic University as a teacher and simultaneously took a Montessori education. However, when my own son was born, I seriously explored the ‘realm’ of parenthood. Like any young mother, I had a whole range of questions to look for answers.
Later I developed as an educator. I began to notice how many women around me faced completely identical difficulties in the process of motherhood.
I found the correlation between a child’s behaviour and his or her mother’s state especially interesting. I began to research all the issues related to this phenomenon.
Since then, I have been in a constant process of research. Over the years, I have received education in the fields of psychology, neuropsychology, and coaching. I continue developing in various fields to this day. For some time, I was the Head of the Department of Early Childhood at the International Institute of Montessori Pedagogy in Moscow. I also presented many reports at conferences and conducted my original workshops.
It should be said, that my vision of motherhood is somewhat different from that of most educators and experts in the field of child-parent relationships. In many pedagogical approaches, a mother is considered as a person who is obliged to perform some functions and act according to a strict script, often without the right to make a mistake.
I oppose that point of view and believe that a child cannot and should not be perfect. Children behave well if they can do it. The same goes for a mother. No one gives birth to children to make mistakes. Sometimes, however, it’s not as easy as it seems.
In general, my entire professional and academic work today is focused on helping other women. I assist them in reaching a certain inner sense that tells them what kind of mom they want to be. They understand how they can fulfil themselves as mothers without losing sight of other aspects of their lives.
– Is ‘intuitive motherhood’ a term of your authorship?
– Yes, one can say that it is our personal brand. Today, the issues of child-parent relationships have already become a kind of mainstream, which requires more reflection. There a number of different terms in society and in the professional environment. The most popular ones include natural and intensive motherhood. There are many approaches that suggest what parents can and cannot do. However, my point of view did not fit into any of the existing concepts.
When I tried to understand what values and principles are included in the closest possible approach to me, the phrase ‘intuitive mothering’ came to mind. It fully reflects the demands of today’s rapidly changing world.
Today, the flow of information is so great that a person simply can’t absorb it fully and sort out high-quality content from the so-called ‘information noise’. Every day, we hear different points of view on all kinds of issues including true and false ones. Each time, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to rely on specific information or a certain opinion.
I believe that the first thing we should rely on in a changing and unstable world is what never deceives us: our own body and our heart.
Talking about intuitive motherhood, it is very important to understand clearly what intuition is. It is our body’s natural ability to instantly analyse a situation, its context, and conscious and unconscious components and then make a decision about the right choice in that situation. To make the right choice, it is important for a person to learn to hear and feel as well as to have extensive knowledge. That can become the basis for such high-speed information processing.
Intuitive motherhood presupposes the ability of a woman to turn to her inner voice, to feel the states of her child, and to understand and accept the child’s individuality. It is necessary to know enough about the peculiarities of all stages of human development, the nature of emotions, and the origins of the child’s behaviour. This is the only way for a mother to understand what her child needs, how she can be useful and why he or she reacts in a certain way to certain situations.
Every child, every parent, and every life situation is different. It is difficult to find universal rules to fit in all circumstances.
The value of intuitive motherhood is that we are looking for answers not in the external environment but within ourselves. No one knows better than us what would be good for us.
Within my project, I teach women to set up their ‘inner compass’. Every woman has it. The main thing is to learn how to use it.
– ‘Mother’ is the most important word in every life, which has special meaning for every person. What meanings do you put into the word ‘mother’ as an expert? Today’s mothers perform not only educational function.
– This question touches upon the trend in contemporary society that I am currently describing in my doctoral thesis. When somebody mentions the word ‘mother’ we immediately imagine a woman with a child. We forget that people today are multi-role persons.
I am deeply convinced that the role of the mother should not be the only role that a woman tries on. The most effective model of upbringing is the one, in which the child sees his or her mother as a person of many talents developing harmoniously in different fields.
Although the laws of nature are such that mother and child are inseparable during pregnancy and then are in close contact for the first years of the baby’s life, that symbiosis must inevitably come to an end over time.
The woman is a kind of ‘adapter’ for the newborn. She passes on to the new person the ability to live in this complex world. However, after the child becomes a little more independent, the woman can and must return to her own path.
The mother is certainly responsible for the child until he or she grows up. At each period of time, she has a different maternal role as a parent. Nevertheless, it is always important to remember that her own life does not end there. Moreover, children often take over from their parents not so much what they are taught consciously but rather their behaviour and inner attitudes. Research shows that birth memory also plays an important role in shaping personality.
Taking all that into account, we can conclude that a mother ‘builds’ her child’s personality from her own one, from her own emotional, mental, and any unconscious attitudes.
Unfortunately, the image of the mother in our society is often associated with excessive responsibility, which develops into guilt. That’s not the way it works. A mother is not a trapped creature who has no time or energy to take care of herself. It is important to make sure that her life is filled with joy and love. Only then a mother can fill her child’s life with the same things.
A mother’s main responsibility is to stay in her ‘resourceful’ state and help her child learn to live independently in this world.
At the same time, it is necessary to realize that life is very different: it is filled with joys and sorrows. There is no need to suppress negative emotions in yourself or in your child. On the opposite, it is important to learn to experience them correctly. This also applies to the educational process. There can be problem children and sometimes their behaviour can be upsetting. However, that is normal.
Within our project, we have a well-established phrase almost accepted as our motto: “It happens!” This simple phrase helps relieve the feelings of guilt and hyper-responsibility so experienced by moms.
I don’t know exactly how to raise children. I do know how to help a woman tune into self-fulfilment. Within the Intuitive Motherhood project, I help participants ‘assemble’ their integral personality from different aspects.
– What is the difference of today’s mothers and children from those of previous generations?
– This topic requires big research. I have a research paper to be finished very soon. In it, I will be examining this question in detail.
One of the main features of the modern world is that it is incredibly changeable. The speed of processes in all spheres of society today cannot even be compared with what it used to be. This is the first time the world is in such a situation. That is why we must work on ourselves and develop new qualities and skills.
Of course, all the peculiarities of modern reality impact motherhood as well. Today, its intensity has increased many times.
If we turn to history or even to the recent past, we can see that women almost never raised children alone. Even if the family was incomplete, relatives, communities, or tribes depending on the era and culture always assisted in children’s upbringing. Thus, children had many people with whom they could be in close interaction.
On the contrary, today’s women often have to spend all their time with their children one-on-one even in full families while the spouse is at work. It is the mother who receives most of the child’s emotional attention. This is a great burden requiring a tremendous amount of psychological energy from a woman.
The modern world is evolving quickly and requires rapid development of humanity. This, in turn, raises the demand for the knowledge and skills that the child must acquire, including those from the mother.
I believe that the modern mother lacks support. That is why I wanted to create not just an educational project but a whole community of like-minded women. I wanted to make them a source of inspiration and support for one another. We meet regularly in an online format to freely express our emotions and discuss our experience openly and sincerely. Motherhood presupposes not only joys but also challenges. And that is normal.
– Motherhood can be compared to an entire science or even an art. However, schools do not teach this skill. At what age and how should women be taught to use intuition in their future children’s upbringing?
– Women who participate in our school’s programmes ask very often why no one told them about intuitive motherhood before. It would have helped to avoid many mistakes. It turns out that such skills and knowledge are really relevant and it is important and necessary to talk about them. Another question is at what phase of education it would be more correct to broadcast that information.
In my opinion, it is important to talk about motherhood, parenthood, and establishing family relationships at all stages of education. That should be done taking into account the age demands and interests of the students.
It is difficult to say how to present such a course correctly. In my opinion, it is necessary to start at school with the introduction of communication-focused discipline. It is important to teach children from an early age to establish communication with their peers and adults both within the social system and within the family.
Communication is an integral foundation of the future. It is important that people of all ages are in constant communication and find like-minders. It is important to make sure that they exchange ideas, support one another, and are in a productive interaction.
My project is to some extent an attempt to introduce a system aimed at the development of communication skills. It is likely that if there are more families in the world that are ready for high-quality communication with their children and loved ones, the acute need for supplementary education in this field will lose its relevance.
– Today’s children are future parents, future ‘designers of our world’. What other qualities in addition to communication literacy should we instil in them today?
– Adaptability is one of the most important skills of a modern person. The changes in our world are a serious source of stress. However, if a person can cope with his or her emotions and understand the inevitability of transformation, he or she will see huge opportunities for creation.
It is necessary to teach children systemic thinking from an early age. We should teach them to be conscious of all their actions and to see the meanings in everything. Today’s education system is increasingly focused on test formats. Child-parent conversations are often limited to everyday questions. This is not the right approach. Among other things, there is a need to address deeper themes.
The ability to create is a unique human skill. However, it is important to ensure that it is based not on selfish desires and ‘consumer consciousness’ but on ethical and spiritual foundations and a broad vision of contexts. Then we will construct a world, in which everyone can live happily.
Adults and children need to learn responsibility and take it from the zone of guilt to the zone of constructive creativity. People should understand the unity of relations among people. The world will only benefit from more high-quality, interesting, and creative interactions within society, including those at the international level.
Creativity is what enhances the quality of any change. It becomes a source of not only external but also internal changes. In this sense, beauty really does save the world.=
– How can mothers prevent emotional burnout in a rapidly changing world?
– The era of change is not as bad as we used to think. Any transformation contributes to getting out of the comfort zone. Thus, it becomes an impetus for development. Among the participants in my project, even during the pandemic, there was almost no anxiety. Our mothers used that time for deep personal growth, rethinking their goals, getting an education, and finding new meanings.
Of course, the first days of self-isolation were challenging for women. They had many additional duties. They tried to establish new rules and schedules at home to help all their family members feel comfortable while studying and working remotely. It was important for them as keepers of the family hearth to maintain harmony and comfort and to come up with interesting activities for children in conditions of limited space.
In spring, we held a special marathon together with the participants of our project. We came up with creative activities that unite children and parents online every day. That helped families cope with the stress of change and establish or strengthen communication.
Anyway, mothers continue to have a huge responsibility. It is very important for a woman to remain in a balanced, harmonious, and ‘resourceful’ state.
A mother is naturally a ‘giving’ person. However, to share something with loved ones and others, you need to constantly charge yourself. That’s why a mother needs to always get an emotional ‘boost’ and inspiration, to find time to take care of herself. Some mothers find meditation helpful, some dance or sing their favourite songs. The main thing is not to underestimate the value of such activities and spend at least a few minutes daily on them.
Self-care practices play an important role. Sometimes it can be useful for a mother to go to a massage or a café, to any place where she will receive care. However, self-care isn’t just about holidays and pleasant procedures. It also presupposes control over your health and physical, psychological, and emotional state.
A person can’t share with others what he lacks. That is why a mother needs care, love, and rest to recover her energy.
The programmes of the Intuitive Motherhood project offer a large number of self-care practices. As surveys and studies show, the neurographic method of transferring one’s goals and thoughts graphically onto paper or some other medium turned out to be one of the most effective techniques. Such methods of self-care can be compared to a ‘toothbrush’ for emotional hygiene, which is important for everyone to maintain.
– Today, we are talking about motherhood. However, what is the role of the father in the upbringing and formation of the child’s personality?
– It is huge and irreplaceable! Children are a consequence of the relationship between a man and a woman. Both parties have a great influence on the child. The mother and father have different parenting roles, each of which is fundamentally important.
Relationships between the spouses themselves are also of great importance. Harmonious communication between parents is the breeding ground for children.
Why do we talk a lot about the mother today? Firstly, because a child begins to form in the womb of a woman. During the first years of life, the child is in communion with the mother. Secondly, because most responsibility for the child in our cultural reality rests on the woman. However, that should not diminish the role of the father.
A mother’s task is to create the inner space for the child’s development and formation of the child’s personality, to fill the child with energy, unconditional love, and support. The task of the father is to help in socialisation, to teach to overcome difficulties and to be independent.
The involvement of the father and mother in the upbringing of the child creates a balance. Since ancient times, people have believed in the power of the Yin and Yang concept. It symbolizes the unity of opposites, which gives birth to a vector of energy.
That is why maintaining the integrity of the family and equal involvement of parents are the main tasks of modern society. That is necessary if we want to continue to develop our world and give quality education to the younger generations.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, there is a tendency for fathers to be somewhat distant from family affairs. Mothers are so used to doing everything on their own that they unconsciously force men to step aside. Only women themselves can change the situation. First of all, they should trust men a little more in the process of household chores and in the upbringing of children. Fathers can make mistakes as well as mothers. I think that men need a little more support from women to fulfil themselves as fathers today.
– Do you work only with mothers within your project?
– I help families but I do it through mothers. The fact is that most men are not in the mood for direct psychological work. In this case, we need to choose indirect routes.
When a woman is in harmony with herself and the world around her, she also has an imperceptible but very powerful influence in terms of her relationship with her spouse.
– What does the Intuitive Motherhood project mean to you?
– This project is a lifestyle for me. I am so deeply immersed in the topic of intuitive motherhood and supporting women that I don’t consider the implementation of the project as work. Moreover, my 23-year-old son is also an employee of our school. He provides all the technical work of the project. I am happy that the topic really echoes not only in my heart but also in the hearts of people around me.
I do not have a clear division of life into work and leisure. I love to travel a lot to different countries for education or spiritual pilgrimage. I spend the rest of my time communicating and interacting with mothers who come to our project. Both sides of my life charge and inspire me constantly.
The Intuitive Motherhood project would not be possible if not being a part of myself and my soul.
The school’s programmes are not one-time webinars. They are rather an ongoing months-long work that contributes to the profound transformation of a woman. We are in constant communication and interaction with the participants. We analyze their life situations and experience all the emotions together. In other words, the project provides mentoring, which is really a way of life.
We carry out a lot of open work. Every week, we have three-hour meetings of the School of Intuitive Motherhood. We touch on very deep topics: we talk about ourselves, about children, and about relationships. For me, it is very important to have the opportunity not only to accumulate useful information but also to share it and help those who need it. That is why Intuitive Motherhood is a very valuable social project for me.
– Your great work requires an enormous investment of effort, energy, and emotion. What charges and inspires you personally?
– My daily spiritual practice. I start every morning with meditation and yoga. I end each day with a prayer practice.
Within our project, we have regular group prayers. I believe, that contributes to keeping our loved ones safe, energizing us, and supporting us in difficult situations.
I do a lot of creative work: I am constantly drawing and learning new skills and knowledge. That gives me the impetus for constant development. In addition, I really like swimming and walking in nature. These activities allow me to not only relax and distract from routine but also put my thoughts in order and think about new plans and ideas.
– What is your vision of the role of women in preserving peace?
– Today's world is full of rapid changes. I really want to talk about women’s role not only in those transformations but also in preserving the values that are so important.
I think there is a kind of ‘awakening’ taking place today. At least, that’s how I see it by watching the women who participate in our project. They have a deep awakening of personal inner responsibility for themselves, for their loved ones, and for the world. They begin to realize that they have a powerful impact on the environment. This is a very good feeling, because our children, our families, our neighbours, and society as a whole depend on how we live.
It is important to ask yourself about your way of living, state of mind, and moods and thoughts that you transmit into the outside world.
Quantum physics has already proved that each person is able to bring changes into the world not only on the psychological or social level but also on the material one. One smile can be shared with a huge number of people. This suggests that any global process begins with small steps of each of us.
The role of women as mothers is important as never before. Their state, consciousness, and readiness to change, accept, and conduct love through themselves shape people: children of today and adults of tomorrow. It is mothers who lay a huge foundation in children. Women pass everything that they carry within themselves on to the younger generation. They shape the future of our world.
Viktoria Yezhova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov