jbabydetroit! is here for you in 2014

January 7, 2014 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit

As I sit in front of a fire, on New Year’s Day 2014, I am feeling peaceful. This year has been a whirlwind for me. I turned 40, started a new career, sent two children to sleep away camp, held back tears as my third graduated from pre-school and started kindergarten, became a working mom, welcomed another new nephew, did my best to be a good, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, co-worker and most importantly a good mom. I have tried to prioritize who and what really matter. I have TRIED to live a life where I stop worrying about what other people think, trying to please everyone, and taking things personally. I am trying to prioritize what really matters to me and my family… not what matters to everyone around me. I have done this with a circle of wonderful friends and family. This circle has become smaller and more meaningful as I have aged. I am working on trying to live my most authentic life and to give my children the skills to do that as well. It is something I wish I felt confident enough to do when I first held my daughter 10 years ago.

As the director of jbabydetroit!, I am often asked, “What do new moms want to know and what do they need?” My number one answer is connections and friendship. Don’t get me wrong: baby classes, parenting books and baby gear are important. However, moms need someone to call for friendship, advice, a good laugh or cry and even a glass of wine. Parents need people who are in the same stage of life as them. While we all have important friends that we have collected throughout our life, the friends that we make as mothers are different. Some of my closest friends have come into my life because of my children. I feel so lucky to have collected such amazing people on road of parenthood.

While I don’t claim to be a parenting expert and I admit that at times all of this is exhausting, sometimes, I long for the days of sitting home with a newborn and I think, “If only I could go back and tell myself what I know now…”

What would that be?

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s ok if the baby misses a nap she will nap again tomorrow or later that day and it’ll be OK!
  • A stressed mom may equal a stressed baby. When you feel like pulling your hair out because the the crying never seems to end, put the baby in his/her crib and take a deep breath then go and give your baby a hug.
  • Be true to yourself. Spend some time doing some soul searching and figure out who you are and what kind of parent you want to be. Write it down and figure out the parenting style that makes the most sense for you.
  • Trust your gut. It is probably right!
  • Don’t compare your child to your friends’ children. All babies hit milestones at different times. My daughter spoke in sentences at 15 months; her brother was over 2. They both speak in circles around me now. My friend’s daughter walked 6 months later than mine. They are both dancing around the room at age 10. However, if you have a real concern, have them evaluated.
  • Don’t be afraid to call the doctor. They will not judge you and it is their job to answer your questions.
  • Let go of insecurity. YOU ARE A WONDERFUL MOM! If you don’t hear it from others, look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are wonderful.
  • If you are feeling alone and trapped in the house, get up and get out. Put the baby in the stroller, join a class, call someone and ask for company. The first year of motherhood can be lonely…. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Make time for yourself and for your partner!
  • Enjoy the little moments. I have allowed myself to enjoy more moments with my third child than I did with my first two. Maybe, it is because my first two are 15 months apart and my third baby came 4 years later or maybe it’s because I realize that it goes fast. I often have to tell myself to stop and laugh about it.
  • Be happy – your children will be happy if they see you happy.
  • Put down your iPhone. My new years resolution (again!)

My wish for all of you “jbaby mommies” is that you make a connection this year that empowers you as a woman and mother and that you stay true to yourself. The goal of jbabydetroit! is to connect, engage and inspire you as a Jewish parent. If you are up at 2:00 am reach out to someone on our Facebook page. If you are looking to make friendships and connections, sign up for one of our jbabydetroit! partner classes. If you are looking for parenting advice, come to one of our parenting programs. If you would like help on your journey or in finding your way, please call me at (248) 203-1465. jbabydetroit! and the Jewish community of Detroit is here for you.

“The Moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.” Rajneesh

Happy New Year!

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