Trust Your Intuition!: Tips from the Host of That’s Total Mom Sense Kanika Chadda Gupta, Episode 219

Welcome to Episode 219. As a mom, have you ever asked yourself? Am I doing it right? Am I ruining them? Am I going to be responsible for them needing therapy when they grow up? As moms, especially in the early days, we need so much reassurance and being able to rely on our intuition is tough. Yet, that is exactly what today’s guest shares with us and helps us to learn to trust! Meet Kanika Chadda Gupta. She is a seasoned CNN television journalist podcaster and mom of three. And in that three, they’re twins. Her goal is to give credit where it’s often overlooked which is the lasting impact of living your purpose and modeling that for the next generation. She hosts the popular podcast That’s Total Mom Sense.

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Key takeaways:

Listen to your intuition (it’s not just for moms!)

Kids are your mirrors (their behavior reflects yours)

Taming toddler meltdowns (practical tips!)

The unique journey of raising twins

This episode covers:

Ditching the self-doubt: Stop asking “am I doing it right?” and start trusting your instincts!

The power of intuition: It’s not just a “mom thing” – everyone has it!

Understanding your kids: Learn how their behavior is a reflection of you.

Conquering meltdowns: Practical tips to help your little one (and yourself!) through tough moments.

The joys (and challenges) of raising twins: Gain insights from a mom who’s been there!

Head to the transcript for more information and resources!

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Learn the exact process that meditation practitioner, bestselling author, business coach, and mom to three young boys, Melissa Llarena, follows to have a consistent meditation practice despite no longer having privacy, time, nor a meditation closet. You will walk away with a step-by-step approach for designing your own ritual and you will get a mental break to THINK more strategically about your business and mom life too.

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Led by Melissa Llarena

Top ForbesWomen contributor with 4M+ views. Author of a the #1 Amazon Bestseller entitled: Fertile Imagination: A Guide for Stretching Every Mom’s Superpower for Maximum Impact. Mom to a singleton son who is 12 and a set of identical twin boys who are ten. A Psychology degree from NYU, and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, she holds a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate and is a student in the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program Class of 2025.

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Connect with Melissa the host:

Official bio for guest

There’s no hood like parenthood! Kanika Chadda Gupta, a seasoned CNN television journalist, podcaster, and mother of three (including twins), aims to give credit where it’s often overlooked – the lasting impact of living your purpose and modeling that for the next generation. She hosts the popular podcast That’s Total Mom Sense, where she interviews public figures on their life lessons, parenting journey, and legacy. Guests include Chelsea Clinton, Kelly Rowland, Bobbi Brown, America Ferrera, Sarah Harden, Rebecca Minkoff, Reshma Saujani, Shannon Lee. She has worked in partnership with the March of Dimes, Mom 2.0, Mother Honestly, and the White House. Her show has been ranked #1 on Goodpods for Motherhood and Kanika has been featured in Forbes and on ABC, NBC, Fox, Cheddar, and CBS.

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Kanika, I am so thrilled to have a fellow mom of multiple who has three kids in total. And as a podcaster. Like me, on this episode, I’m so thrilled to have you here. Kanika. Thank you, Melissa. It’s my pleasure. I was doing my homework, because that’s what we do. And I was so curious about your thoughts on mom sense, as it relates to a lot of us that at one time felt like we were on top of the world, maybe we’re in powerful positions, and then all of a sudden, we have this like, baby, and we’re like,

Kanika  10:53

I don’t know what to do, and what to do with them all day. And will I survive? And will they survive? So like, help us feel powerful? Help us feel like we could handle anything, even this child? Yes, yes, I would love to, I think we all need to recognize the strengths and gifts we have. And we all have the power of intuition. It’s our North star. It’s something that directs us in the right direction. And, and we should just listen to that inner voice because it just it can do no wrong. And I feel when we first become parents, we second guess ourselves because there’s so much noise. There are in laws and your own parents and friends and teachers and child caregivers that are all like you have to do it this way, you got to do it this like, and I just I feel like if this is your child only you know how to raise it best, him or her best. So just trust that. And I say this from experience, because I had my three kids in one fell swoop, I had twins. And when they were just nine months old, like just think of baby boy, baby girl, nine months can’t even sit up, still swaddled all of that, I got pregnant with my third. And so I was just thrown into the deep end, I was not expecting. And it was really by the grace of God that I had the kids. So I just thought, Okay, God gives you what you can handle. And I am up for this challenge. And as much as I tapped into my kind of skill set as a journalist, I would ask everybody I knew questions, including the Amazon rep. I would be like, Do you have kids? Which bottle did you use? Which one Dr. Brown Ma’am, you tell me. And so I just was like I’m doing all this data gathering, I read a ton of books. And then I started listening, listening to podcasts. And in the end, as much as I learned so much from everyone’s stories and experiences. I knew that only I can chart my path for what I want to do for my family and I can glean from everyone else. But I know what’s up, and I’m just gonna do it my way. And I want everyone to feel that. Agreed totally. And I think the novelty at least for me and my family of having twins almost made it like a requirement. It’s like, hey, we don’t know how to handle it. So you definitely need to figure this out on your own right? Like, is that something that maybe was common for you? Were there a lot of like, oh, I have twins too. And I have triplets too and or did you have to like chart your own path? Because he were like one of the first? Yeah, yeah. So I do have friends who had twins before me and I leaned on them. But even that I feel like we all had our very different journeys. And there’s something so beautiful in that like there’s certain things that I was I learned where I had boy girl twins and I didn’t want to buy pink and blue of everything. And brides were telling me you don’t need to buy two of everything. It’s just as much as you can obviously double stroller, car seats and high chairs. But other than that the toys that they play with like their swaddles their whatever it was, it was like just make sure it’s gender neutral and like everybody we got to share. So I was just like, Okay, we’re gonna go gray, gray and yellow. That’s fine. So that’s something that I did learn. I did end up nursing the kids for a year and then my youngest also. And so that was something that I kind of figured out on my own and everyone has their own like journey there. But I wanted to do it I was able to produce so I did it and I had a twin Z pillow that I used where they get to just kind of fit in each nuk and in a football hold. You can feed them Sam

Kanika  15:00

I’ll take it slowly for the first three months, and then they get a little big, and then you just feed them one by one. But I did that, and then I found a lactation consultant to support me. And so there’s certain things that I was like, I’m going to do this differently. I don’t have to just take a cue from everyone who’s had twins or multiples before me. Yeah, I think yeah, tandem nursing, for me was definitely a unique adventure that distinguished my entire mommyhood experience, I will say, amongst others. And I would say, you’re right, everyone out there that’s listening right now you you get to choose, right, like how you nourish your babies. And that’s a very viable use of your mom’s sense, right? Your intuition. It’s like, wait a minute, does this feel good for me? Like, is this possible, given my life goals and the realities of my support system, so there’s so many uses for for mom sense. And your mom’s sense, is starting to really remind me of a fertile imagination. So when I wrote my book, fertile imagination, it’s being able to cast a vision for your life that you may have never seen ever before, in the history of time in the life of another mom. And so it’s really interesting, because you have to, you need almost like an inner stillness, both in the case of accessing your imagination, and what I’m hearing from you, in the case of like listening to your intuition, your inner guide. So stillness, and mom have multiples or three kids like that seems like an oxymoron. Like, how do we do this? How do we achieve stillness in the most chaotic of homes and situations, especially those early days? So you can listen to your mom sense and be like, I know the answer. Right, right. Yeah, no, you’re so right. I mean, there is so much action, entropy. Just know, it’s everything. When you have multiples, and as a twin mom, you know, this. So I, I feel like it’s in those moments, oftentimes, like, right before bed, when I am by myself, I keep a notebook by my bed. And it’s like, a place where I can use as a gratitude journal and write what I’m grateful for, or things that I’m thinking about, or ideas that I have. And so that’s like my brain dump. And that’s what I do when I when I know I have the stillness, and that’s like, literally, I’d say, around like, 838 30 to nine, the kids are fast asleep. And I have my time. And it’s not like wee hours of the morning when you’re still like groggy.

Kanika  17:44

Yeah, I get that. I mean, I personally have a really early bedtime. But I mean, priorities change. If we’re up at dawn. You can’t stay up late. It’s just we need our sleep. And I rather actually get up at dawn, then stay up late. Like, I don’t know, I feel weird that way. But like, that’s just like my thing. So okay, so here we go. We figured out that we have this like inner guidance, this inner GPS, right. So mom’s sense. And I know you’ve mentioned even dad sense, like, that’s also a thing as well. Okay, we figured it out. But let’s say we’re like stubborn. And we’re like, what? This one time I rather consult with an expert or this one time, I’m going to do the opposite. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like that? Is there like a story you could kind of share? Ooh, yeah. And I think it’s still you’re trusting your intuition to tell you to do that. So it’s, it’s stemming from somewhere. But yeah, I would say it’s, I guess, something that I made a mistake on. And my mom’s sense, tells me this, and that’s why I changed things around for my third. So we did have childcare help with the twins. She was amazing. And so she taught me how to make pureed foods for for them. So we did pureed everything like it. And they started with rice cereal, and being from the same South Asian background, a lot of the foods were things that were kind of ancient and like, tried and tested for our cultural, like cultural background. So there was like a rice dish with turmeric and lentils like all that stuff. So my kids basically got used to that what Khichdi Khichdi, oatmeal pureed fruits and veggies for their from one to two and onwards. And when I saw other moms doing toddler led weaning where they’re like giving their kids little pieces of carrots and cucumbers and snap peas and like everything to pick up on their own, it’s like it’s a straight up mess underneath

Kanika  20:00

That highchair I get and it just makes me shudder with because of my OCD. But the good side is that the children actually get a feel for different textures, different flavors, different, like fragrances to food, and they get to manipulate it. They love all things sensory. And they’re actually using their fine motor skills, their pincers to be able to pick up like a small grain of rice or green B. So I didn’t do that with the twins. I was like, No, we got up here everything. And with my third eye was like, No, we’re flipping the script. I want him to be able to pick up his food. And even though not as much as gonna get in, we can supplement that with some spoon feeding after. But my mom said said to like, listen to the moms who are doing that, and the experts that I had on pediatricians and kind of culinary experts when it comes to toddlers and toddler led weaning, and I was like, I’m gonna do it this way. That’s fascinating, because I’m thinking about it for me like, okay, so I’m Latina. And certainly I could have been like rice and beating up my kids when they were little, little little. Yeah, I did. Yeah, they’ll do. nourishing, that’s a no brainer. There’s iron in there. Okay, I’ll stop with that. I could do a whole episode on the value of lagoons. Anyway. Yeah, the whole point is like, culturally, it’s really interesting. Because culturally, and I call it almost like a cultural glass ceiling, again, in my book and for imagination, but it’s like a certain way of mothering, right, and a certain way of like translating tradition, heritage, culture, and all these things, and having the palate right for the different foods that exist in our cultures, I find is so fascinating. And like, these are like acts of bravery. When you opt to do something that is very different than then a culture like we’re talking like DNA different. Did you get any commentary from anyone when you decided to change the script there? Of course, of course, I mean, I just I feel like everyone’s so opinionated, and especially those from previous generations. So they’re like, why would you do it this way? This, this doesn’t seem right, you know, and like, I raised all my kids on this

Kanika  22:32

ad, so I know what’s going on. But it’s just again, it’s like, you trusting your built in sixth sense to be like, yeah, I get that I see you. But I want to do it this different way. Because I see that there’s a greater value in this. But yeah, you’re gonna get the pushback, and you have to stand your ground, you know, because again, I always feel like, even though we’re second guessing ourselves, and we’re unsure, Am I doing it right? Am I ruining them?

Kanika  23:01

The fact that we care is like a testament in itself. Secondly, it’s like, best you really, really do. Yeah, and there’s this philosophy out there. And I don’t know your thoughts on it. But like I was, I heard through the grapevine that our kids pick us to view their parents. I’m just wondering, like, I’m thinking to myself, Okay, my kids definitely are teaching me a lot of the things that I need to learn, right, like humility, patience, everything, keeping it in holding my tongue. All these things are being taught to me and I’m wondering, I’m like, did they pick me to like, teach me everything that I think get a chance to learn as a little girl? Like, right? What do you think about this? Because also, you said, God only gives you what he knows you can handle. And I’ve had questions. I’m like, God, like, are we serious? You really think a lot of me like, like, Please, please. Right? So you tell me, what’s your philosophy? What’s your thinking? Like? Are these like many teachers, many sages, like in our midst, or Paul, I really do think so. I think that they’re, they’re put on this earth. They are the personalities that they are to guide us and sometimes that’s to challenge us. And they’re, as much as they’re so different. I don’t feel like kids are supposed to be the extension of you and they’re not supposed to live out your dreams or anything like that. But they are your mirror. And it’s like when you see your five year old self in their face. You just come back to how would I have wanted to be parented and I find that a lot I find this most with my daughter because I have she’s one of the one of the twins, and then my and then I have my two sons, but with her she is an empath to her core.

Kanika  25:00

are just like me, she really feels for people. And she can cry really easily. She’s sensitive. And, and she’s also a perfectionism. She doesn’t get her way, she gets really frustrated about that. And this was me, this was always me. So when I think back to like, she’s seven, now my seven year old self, I was exactly like that. And so if I don’t validate where she’s coming from, it’s really disenfranchising, you know, and I just think, okay, if I were, what would I want to hear, and, and means for self regulation, when it comes to just social emotional, like something that we have learned, we did, we do two things. One is, name it, claim it, tame it. So name, kind of what the scenario is why you’re upset, claim that you’re feeling frustrated, disappointed, angry, and then tame it. Now let’s find a way to let that anger out or let those tears out. But like, let it go, in the end, be able to let it go and not hold on to it. And so that’s just really, really important. That’s like an exercise that I do for myself now. And it’s so important. And then another one is, the five senses, that’s a that’s a way to tame, if you will, so when she’s like, in the middle of like, let’s say she, she used to get so upset when she like messed up on artwork, she’d be like, Oh, my God, I made a mistake I was or over like, I was coloring this rabid art. And she, like, totally, just just get so emotional about it. So we’ll talk about how that’s frustrating all that. And then it’s like, let’s, let’s bring it back. Let’s bring it back to this present moment. So we’ll do our five senses, tell me five things you see. And then she’ll be like, my water bottle, the crayon, the paper, the Chair, I’m sitting on this room. And then it’s for tell me four things that you hear three things that you can feel. So feel around you. Two things that you can smell, and one thing that you taste, and all of a sudden, it just diffuses everything. Because you’re like, where am I right now? What’s around me? What’s going on, and your feelings don’t get the best of you. Yeah, and I think it’s funny because it’s, it’s like a body scan meditation, basically,

Kanika  27:37

I’m becoming like, this is where this is where it’s gotten me being a mom of multiple, I’m literally literally becoming a meditation practitioner, like, needed, how needed it is in my life with three boys. So what you just described is exactly that which I teach, which is a body scan meditation. And it’s so interesting, because oftentimes, we live our lives outside of our bodies, and we disassociate instead of really making some sort of peace with how we feel, and then bringing to our awareness, where these sensations are, and just being really, really present to it so that this way we could work through it. And so what I’m hearing kind of going, I don’t know if this is on purpose, or it may be it’s your mom’s sense, leading the way. But it sounds to me like you’re forming some sort of connection for your kids to their kids sense. Yes, 100% 100%, I want them to have this tool, it’s in your back pocket. And it’s something that like, I think of like how we talked about just being able to rise to this challenge. I knew I always wanted to be a mom, when I was a kid. But there were certain things that I saw my parents doing that I was like, Yeah, I wouldn’t, I would do this differently. And I didn’t get my needs met. And I think I had to learn how to deal with my emotions and my sensitivity and everything like much later in life like 30s. And now that I’m in my 40s, it’s like this, like, just kind of reckoning and attitude where like, I see myself, I can call it out, I know how I feel when I feel it, and I’m going to just be able to like, deal with it. But I never really had that skill. And I think my kids brought that out in me, because I was like, I have to see some of the skill.

Kanika  29:32

I’m teaching myself and, and really breaking cycles, because it’s not something that I could turn to as a kid and my parents were immigrant parents and just moved from India.

Kanika  29:46

They moved with me I was two years old. They were just trying to put food on the table and survive. So they weren’t being like let’s sit down and do a meditation session and everything’s like Kumbaya. No, you know, and so I had to like raise myself and I had

Kanika  30:00

This history was seven years or younger. And I and my grandmother raised her. And so I think just a quick like, aside to that, I remember when she was born, because it was like having this little doll, I took care of how you would take the bottle and test it on your wrist to make sure I knew how to do that. When I was seven, I was like, give me the baby.

Melissa Llarena

Bestselling Author of Fertile Imagination: A Guide for Stretching Every Mom’s Superpower for Maximum Impact

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa Llarena is an author, imagination coach, consultant, speaker, and contributor to ForbesWomen articles that have garnered 4 million + views. She is also the host of Unimaginable Wellness, the podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms. Featured guests include GaryVee and Beth Comstock. Melissa holds a psychology degree from New York University, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate. She is training to become a meditation practitioner. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and three sons. Visit

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