Meet Dr. Tracy Brenner - Westport Moms

How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport/the area? We have two kids – Teddy (10) and Sadie (7), and we have lived in Westport for 5 years!

How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? I’m a clinical psychologist and my primary job is in private practice where I do therapy with adolescents and adults. Two years ago, I launched a summer camp consulting business as “The Camp Counselor” where I consult with camp directors, camp parents and nervous campers to maximize social and emotional wellbeing at camp. I do staff training, serve as an advisor to camp directors, offer workshops and webinars for parents, I work with nervous new and returning campers.

The camp slant of my work was born out of passion: Camp is near and dear to me and runs in my blood. I was a camper, a counselor, a daughter of a camp director and now, am a camp parent. When my peers began sending their kids to sleepaway camp, I noticed how parental anxiety was leading parents to have their hand in trying to manage their child’s camp experience in ways parents didn’t in the past. I saw how a culture of connectedness and control was interfering with parent’s ability to let go and let their kids truly be away while at sleepaway camp. I believe it is in the awayness of sleepaway camp that campers truly reap social and emotional benefits like resilience, self-confidence, independence and self esteem. However, the more parents try to control their child’s camp experience, the more they chip away at these benefits. Thus, I combined my expertise as a psychologist with my love and knowledge of camp to reduce parental and camper anxiety and help camps protect the camp bubble as a place that lets children thrive.

**WESTPORTMOMS PLUG: If you are sending kids to camp- or thinking about It, Tracy’s recent podcast “What Should Parents Know about Sleepaway Camp?” is amazingly helpful and a must listen!!! You won’t regret It=)is amazingly helpful and a must listen!!! You won’t regret It=)

What is the best show you have recently (binge) watched? AND/OR what is the last book you read? Hmmm…not sure for recently but my favorite show is 30 Rock and I’ve probably watched the whole series about half a dozen times.

What are two things still on your bucket list? Going with my daughter, Sadie to the Eras tour (I’m running out of time!) and a Safari in Africa.

What is your favorite podcast? Amy Poehler’s podcast called, Say More with Dr? Sheila. It is hysterical, even if you’re not a a mental health professional but ESPECIALLY if you are!

What is one food you could not live without? Pizza and I could probably eat it every day.

What is one product you could not live without? Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover- I spilled an entire glass of red wine on my white tank top and you would never know today.

What is your greatest indulgence? I’m a sucker for a luxurious hotel with a thick fluffy white robe!

What is your favorite family tradition? Summer evening swims- After school and day camp, no matter what we’ve done that day, all four of us swim together, do “diving catches”, play games to guess things about each other’s days. It’s fun for all of us and makes us feel much more connected.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse? It’s probably a 4-letter word. I curse too much and I’m trying to stop!

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I cook amazing ribs and mix a mean spicy margarita

If you weren’t doing what you are today, what might your career path might have been? A travel agent! I love planning travel and exploring beautiful places.

Are you a morning person, or a night owl? How does sleep fit into your life? Morning! I’m an early riser no matter what time I go to bed the night before. I’m also much more productive in the morning. If I work out, it has to happen in the morning, otherwise it won’t happen. I’ve never been a napper but try to get 8 hours of sleep most nights.

What thing has surprised you most about being in the suburbs? When I moved here I was blown away by how inclusive and welcoming everyone was. I feared that suburban life would have more of a cliquey feel and that hasn’t been the case. My kids were 5 and 2 at the time we moved and so many people connected us with other parents with same aged children. Someone once said to me, “everyone here was new at one point and remembered what that felt like, so they pay it forward.” I’m grateful to be in that kind of welcoming community.

At a movie: Candy or Popcorn? My own snacks in my bag!
Cook or order in? Cook! (NYT cooking app!)
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee? Hot
Beach or Mountains? BOTH! I can’t choose
Glass Half Full or Half Empty? Full!
Sauce on the Side or Sauce on Top? Side
Crunchy or Smooth Peanut Butter?  Creamy
Guacamole or Salsa? Guac
Attend a Party or Host a Party? Depends on how busy I am! I love to host but I’m also delighted to be a guest.
Call a friend or text a friend? Text
Vacation or staycation? Vacation 100%
Before bed: Social media or book/TV? TV
Watch or play sports? Both!
Stay in or go out? Go out!
Comedy or Drama? Comedy

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