cafe

education AND support

Motherhood25 (2)

What a beautiful week for us as a staff of The Motherhood Collective. On Saturday we welcomed you to the Café Express. On Monday we held both the Café and our PPMD Support Group. Wednesday brought our Grief Support Group. What a gift to have the opportunity to serve so many women in such different ways. If you are new to our programming this week, welcome. As an organization we long to advocate for a societal shift in maternal health. We feel the way we accomplish this best is through education AND support by connecting you to each other and to your communities.

Education empowers. Education expands our knowledge. Education, on it's own, can also overwhelm and leave us without tools for success. This is where we feel woman to woman support must come in.

It is within the framework of support that women discover variances of normal. It is through the safety of support that women find assurance that they are not alone.

Thank you. Thank you for allowing us to serve you. Thank you for allowing us to learn what it looks like to connect you to each other and to your communities. Again, welcome to our new faces. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to further your education and support from pre-conception through postpartum.

All my love,

PS - Do you follow us on instagram? Here is a peek at what we've been up to this week!

Café Recap: Handling Transitions

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Our panelists: Josie Olson (Play Therapist), Loan Kline (Pediatrician) and Katherine Brown (Early Learning Center Director), and our moderator, Lauren Barnes. We often talk about bellies and babies here at the Collective, but today's topic includes issues specific to our two- to four-year-old children. Potty training, big kid beds, and limits– there are lots of unique challenges within this age range.

Milestones

Loan focuses mostly on gross motor skills in the first year and language skills during the second year. Katherine sees children develop at various paces; her organization does an assessment based on each child instead of comparing children to each other. They use the assessments, along with parents' assessments, to help the children achieve goals. While it can be tempting to push children to reach certain milestones, that behavior in parents can be harmful. Josie recommends setting them up to achieve these milestones by creating an environment that will help them to get there on their own.

Potty Training

Potty training is a big milestone that parents are often anxious to achieve sooner than later. Loan says that you can start before two, but most kids are not going to be ready by age two. Signs of readiness are the ability to follow two step commands ("take your pants off and sit on the potty"), recognizing that they have gone (if they will continue to play in wet underwear then they don't have this awareness yet), recognizing that they need to go before they go, and a willingness to sit on the potty. A potty in the car can be a solution for transitioning from at home potty training to going out in the world. Fear during potty training is another hurdle some children need to overcome. Josie recommends validating their fears; having them draw or use puppets to show what exactly they're afraid of, and then helping them find a solution (like picking out a new toddler potty).

Sometimes transitions and milestones overlap. Having a second child can make parents want to potty train their first child before they're ready. Reading their cues and waiting until they're ready is usually the better option for both parent and child. An audience member suggests that two babies in diapers is much easier than struggling to potty train a toddler that isn't ready, while juggling a newborn as well.

Sleep

According the National Sleep Foundation, toddlers (1-2 years) need about 11-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting about one to three hours. Naps should not occur too close to bedtime as they may delay sleep at night. Many toddlers experience sleep problems including resisting going to bed and nighttime awakenings. Nighttime fears and nightmares are also common. Many factors can lead to sleep problems. Toddlers' drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with sleep. In addition, their ability to get out of bed, separation anxiety, the need for autonomy and the development of the child's imagination can lead to sleep problems. Daytime sleepiness and behavior problems may signal poor sleep or a sleep problem.

Loan finds that these guidelines are true for most toddlers. Toddlers that do well with less sleep usually have a parent that also functions well on fewer hours of sleep than average. One indicator that they are not getting enough sleep is growth; the growth hormone is released during sleep so if a child is not growing well sleep may be the issue.

Transitioning out of the crib usually happens around two to three years of age. Some children are ready earlier (if your toddler can climb out of the crib it is time to move them). For active/climbing children, consider taking anything dangerous or furniture that they can climb out of the room. Some parents stay in the room after bedtime to enforce the idea of staying in bed for the first few nights; do not engage with the child, simply direct them back to bed immediately.

There are various reasons that children have trouble with bedtime. Some children have trouble relaxing their bodies; you can gently massage or rub their back until you hear their breathing change and they are ready for sleep. Remember that with any transition it can take your child a few days, or longer, to get used to the new routine. Consistency will help them adapt easier. If children are afraid you can help them realize their monsters (with drawing or clay) and discuss how to overcome that fear (with "boogie monster" spray, for example).

Responsibilities

Josie says to never do for your kids what they can do for themselves. Empower them to help and take care of themselves and their things. Model how to do things, give them the tools to help, and they will join in and eventually be able to do things themselves. Loan says a sense of responsibility is very important. Her office provides a list of age-appropriate chores for parents. Singing or making it into a game can help ("let's put all the blue blocks away first"). If a toddler fails once and then gives up, you can help them gradually learn to do it themselves. You can break the task into smaller steps to help it seem more manageable and provide more opportunities for success. Remind them of past successes, and talk with them about problem solving.

Behavior

Emotional regulation for toddlers is a process. 18 months to three years is a period of negativity. They delight in refusing a request because it is a new-found power for them. This is also a time they are testing boundaries and seeing what they can do. Give them choices to help avoid the constant "no". Let them make small choices to help them feel empowered, and stick to routines. Tell them when there is going to be a change of plans and help them prepare for new situations.

Shaming your child is never helpful. You can point out bad behavior but reiterate that the child is not bad. Use positive language to tell them what to do, instead of using negative language to tell them what not to do ("walk, please" as opposed to "stop running"). Use books to help illustrate good and bad behavior. Katherine has classroom meetings to discuss problems before they arise. She lets the children talk to each other to help them learn from each other. Discipline is an ongoing process, but with young children redirection and distraction is often the preferred method. If you can get them to stop a negative behavior without a tantrum or fight, they are going to be happier and learn good behavior from your positive reinforcement. When it come to matters of safety you can still give options ("you can hold my hand or I can carry you in the street"), but do not negotiate anything beyond what is safe for the child.

New Siblings

The best time for a second or subsequent child depends on you and your family. Physically a woman's body is fully recovered from childbirth after two years. Some suggest that a three year old is much more capable of handling a new sibling than a two year old, as they are more independent. Our panelists suggest that you start preparing your child early for the arrival of a new baby. Use age-appropriate books and videos to introduce them to the idea (picture books are helpful for younger children). Getting them a baby doll of their own to take care of can be helpful, as young children like to imitate our behaviors. Talk to your child about what it means to be a sibling, and continue to promote the idea that siblings are the very best friends. Allow them to hold onto some "baby" things (like their special blankie, for example). When it comes to room sharing, experienced moms say that each child will get used to it and their sleep patterns will adjust as needed.

What a lot of helpful information! Thank you to our panelists for providing so much great advice. If there is anything that was not addressed in this article, feel free to leave us a comment here or on The Motherhood Collective facebook page.

New Dreams

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One of my most treasured parts a a Café morning is having opportunity to sit in a small group with the women who attend. Last Monday in the late infancy group we discussed our well-being as women. How has motherhood changed us? Are we the same women we were before? Each of us said that we had difficulty discovering the new woman who is the mother. Our identity has changed, and with that; our hobbies, interests, and dreams.

We spoke about the struggle to surrender to the new woman who has been birthed through motherhood. Some of her life goals may remain, and how wonderful! Some of her life goals may have shifted, and that's wonderful too! But we must give ourselves the freedom to dream new and more incredible dreams. We must give ourselves the freedom to grow and expand with each new season we encounter.

We are ever evolving and ever growing women. We are mother. What dream will you grant yourself the permission to dream today?

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Dreams

"Nurturing the mother to grow the child."

Photo by Liz Cook of Sincerely, Liz, Inc.

January is almost over. Winter storms cover the East Coast. What an honor it has been to serve you wherever motherhood finds you this winter. Are you familiar with our tagline? "Nurturing the mother to grow the child." Do you know how deeply we believe this? Motherhood is challenging. Our primary goal is to nurture, support and educate you; enabling you to make the choices best for your family. We are passionate about cheering you on - helping you find your truth.

My heart was filled to overflowing as I watched so many of you play with different baby carriers at the Saturday Café Express and Monday Café. Your laughter and encouragement was contagious. For those of you who joined us for the first time, I applaud you for your bravery in stepping out to connect with women you did not know. For those of you who missed your time with us, be sure to visit the blog for recaps and valuable information.

Be sure to check out all of the upcoming events listed on the calendar. There are many opportunities for connection and support wherever you have need. If there is any way in which we could be serving you better, please let me know.

All my love,

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Happy New Year from The Motherhood Collective!

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For those of you who joined us for the first time yesterday morning, welcome! We enjoyed meeting each of you and truly hope you were able to connect, learn and receive support. If you have any questions about yesterday's topic, panelists, our resources, please let me know: lbarnes@themotherhoodcollective.org. The Café panelists covered a vast array of subjects, from adding value to our children to their methods of correction. They encouraged us to embrace today, reminding us that the challenges we face today will fade and new obstacles will arise with each year of growth (even when our children are grown!). Each season with our children is precious and brief. Eileen spoke of how she writes out a blessing for her children full of hopes for their future and affirmations of who they are today. She reads this to them on their birthday and frames them. What a beautiful idea!

Our hope for this year is to bring more depth to our education and support by serving you in love, on purpose and with focus. We are honored to create spaces where women of all philosophies, parenting theories, ages, and backgrounds can come together and support one another. Together we will "nurture the mother to grow the child".

Most sincerely,

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Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Kayla Becker

Ever wonder who’s behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers – once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support.022 Meet Kayla Becker! Kayla has worn many hats in her years with The Motherhood Collective©, but currently she serves as the other Managing Director, Workshop Coordinator, Info Booth Administrator and Bump Club Director. (sheesh... )

Kayla was originally brought on as our Treasurer due to her fantastic skills with numbers, but has transitioned into the many roles above as her dreams for our organization have grown.

The mother of two, Kayla visited our Café after the difficult birth of her first son and found much more than she expected. She likes to tell of the healing she found and the relationships she developed with mothers of the Collective© - both of which helped transform her second pregnancy and birth.

Passionate about our mission and focused on serving women through education and support, Kayla works daily to sharpen our focus, develop new programs and increase awareness in the community as a Managing Director.

Kayla has two exciting projects debuting in the New Year; the Info Booth and Bump Clubs. The Info Booth will serve to further connect women attending our outreach programs to the greater efforts of The Motherhood Collective©. The Bump Clubs (official name TBA) are still in development, but are the solution to the pleas we have heard from you, our mamas, to deepen relationships with mothers walking through the same milestones of motherhood.

We are so excited for our upcoming 2014 Workshops and Kayla is, yet again, the force behind these wonderful evening events!

Come January, on Café mornings you will find Kayla behind the Info Booth in the first hour, then actively participating in the Pregnancy Small Group during the second hour. She looks forward to connecting you to this collective group of mothers!

Thank you, Kayla, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

PS – Interested in helping serve as a volunteer on one of Kayla’s projects? Fill out a volunteer form here and tell us so!

Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Debbie Perdew

Ever wonder who’s behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers – once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support.0010 We’re so excited to introduce you to Miss Debbie! She is our Lead Childcare Worker and spends her Café Monday mornings lovingly caring for the children of our local mamas.

Miss Debbie has transformed the Childcare we offer on Monday mornings at the Café. As a mother to many, her years of experience as a mama and grandma probably have something to do with this.

Greeting the little ones, ages 1 – 4, with a warm smile and big hugs she works with her two assistants (Miss Amanda and Miss Abby) to bring fun and order to the two hours she spends with the children.

By limiting the childcare number to 15, Miss Debbie and her assistants are able to provide careful attention to allergies, special needs and requests. In addition, Miss Debbie creates an environment that is warm and welcoming for many of our little ones who are experiencing their first childcare situation.

Children spend the morning in a room directly adjacent to our Café meeting space. During check-in, mamas fill in detailed name tags, complete with allergy information, age and nickname. The children are then welcomed into a room with a soaring ceiling and lots of light, and filled with age appropriate toys, books and activities.

Our Cafés meet the second and fourth Mondays of each month. Registration for our Café Childcare opens at noon on the Monday before a scheduled Café. Registration is available on a "first-come, first-served" basis and closes after reaching 15 spots or at 7pm the Sunday before the Café (whichever comes first).

If you are local and have utilized our childcare, we hope you will take the time to thank Miss Debbie for her excellent care of your children. She has filled a very specific need most beautifully.

Thank you, Miss Debbie, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

Click here for additional details regarding our Café Childcare can be found here.

Labor Pains: A note from our Executive Director

When we began this website, we posted The Motherhood Collective's "Birth Story" and we invited you to come along with us as we continued to grow and we referenced our possible, future labor pains. Well, here we are and are writing about it. The Motherhood Collective© is experiencing some exciting changes as we continue to increase awareness and network in our local community and beyond.

Many of you have been encouraged by our local outreach, The Motherhood Café. This is one of our favorite ways to serve as it brings us face-to-face with the mothers of our local community. We desire to continue this particular service for years and years to come. That said, we have had to have some hard talks about making the Café as sustainable as possible.The Motherhood Collective

Over the next years we hope to take our passion for education and support to a new level. This might mean providing scholarships for childbirth education, certificates for lactation consultants, supporting local postpartum depression groups, providing increased opportunities to for you to gather with women in your seasons of life, and even planting "chapters" in other communities around the country.

We operate on a limited, donation-supported budget and wish to employ these funds in the best way possible. Currently a large portion of these dollars is used to supply Café food and coffee. While this is a worthy "cause", its reach is not far and we feel there are needs much greater (such as those projects mentioned above).

We are not doing away with food altogether, but rather opening up a conversation. What would you, the women we serve, prefer to see? No food at all or food that costs you a small amount? We know that our incomes vary and that honestly, priorities vary. We are working on several ways to continue offering some type of refreshments, but with different options.  We've discussed providing vouchers for first time attendees, selling prepaid punch cards and gifting punch cards in our new mom baskets.  Please know that making our mothers feel comfortable and cared for on Mondays is still very much part of our intent.  We do not make these changes lightly.

We know that many of you care passionately about this organization and you are the very women we serve. So, would you take a moment to fill out this survey and share your opinions with us? We long to continue in our efforts to Nurture the Mother to Grow the Child and your help would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Maria Hayden

Ever wonder who’s behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we’ll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers – once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support.0012 Meet, Maria, one of our Managing Directors, who might best be described as the "Swiss Army Knife" of The Motherhood Collective©.

Without Maria we’d be all over the place. She has many job responsibilities, and somehow, they all seem to involve keeping us in line.

Her main focus as one of our two Managing Directors is serving as our Non-profit Consultant in everyday, behind the scenes “business” work. Running an organization such as ours is not all hugs and coffee, and we are very thankful for the hours Maria spends on the not-so-thrilling tasks that make our time with you more enjoyable.

Maria also handles the placement of our volunteers as our Volunteer Coordinator. We are extremely fortunate to have women rise up continually to serve with us. These volunteers help on both large and small levels and they come to us with differing skill sets and available time. Maria works with these women to find ways they can best contribute and give back.

On Café mornings you might never see Maria, because once again she is holding us together - this time as our Café Morning Stage Manager. She assigns morning tasks to the leadership team, checks us in on arrival, runs the soundboard and gathers donation dollars... all so we can serve you better.

Maria wandered into a Café one morning; pregnant and unsuspecting of the role she would one day play. Now the mother of a beautiful toddler, she shares her joys, struggles, and lessons learned in an honest and refreshing way.

With big dreams for the year ahead, Maria brings us years of management experience, a "peppery" frankness and a dry sense of humor that will make anyone smile.

Thank you, Maria, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

 

PS - Interested in volunteering with The Motherhood Collective©? Contact Maria at: volunteer@themotherhoodcollective.org.

Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Liz Cook

Ever wonder who's behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers - once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support.0015 Meet, our fabulous Liz! She's our Webmaster, Photographer and Designer!

Ok to start, this site that you're on right now, would not exist if not for Liz. From the stripes, color and font you see to all the behind the scenes "code", Liz did it all. We are so grateful to her for making our web presence so beautiful, welcoming and FUNCTIONING.

Liz joined us, as many have, by simply attending our Café outreach as a first-time mother. But it didn't take long at all for her to go from receiving to giving back.  Honestly, one of the best ways to describe Liz is "immensely giving".

By trade, our Liz is a photographer. It is her photos that you see beautifully capturing the love between mother and child on every piece of Motherhood Collective promotional material. We benefit from her gifts again and again with each new project.

When she's not keeping this website afloat, designing new products (like our t-shirts she's wearing in the photo above!) or photographing our mamas, she can be found behind the sound-booth on Café Mondays. Keeping our panelists audible can be quite the challenge over our vocal audience of chatty babies.

With dedication, enthusiasm, a constant fresh outlook and an infectious laugh, Liz  has a passion to keep us, "nurturing the mother to grow the child".

Thank you, Liz, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.

Meet The Motherhood Collective© Staff: Barbie Sutton

Ever wonder who's behind The Motherhood Collective? Over the next few weeks we'll be introducing you to our dedicated team of volunteers. These women are all mothers - once, twice or many times over. While they come from different backgrounds and have various approaches to pregnancy, birth and parenting, each one is dedicated to creating a place where ALL mothers can find education and support. Meet our Café Monday Mama and C0-Founder! Barbie helped design who we are today, read on to get to know her!

0009Barbie is a mother to many; both physically and emotionally. Encouragement exudes from her and she has walked many of us through our delicate transition into motherhood. When we began the process of forming this organization we knew we would need Barbie at our side. Through our initial days of dreaming and grunt work, she has been a needed voice of reason. Her dedication to women in our community is beautiful.

While her own children are almost all completely out of the home, Barbie continues to remain active in the lives of women in their childbearing years. A registered nurse, event planner, health and childbirth advocate, Barbie is a beautiful soul who delights in enjoying this life to its fullest.

Currently Barbie serves the women of The Motherhood Collective© on Café Mondays overseeing activities in our Café kitchen and continually thinking up new ways to serve our mamas. She consistently sits as a panelist and often leads our small group on Parenthood offering advice that is tempered by her many years of experience.

With an open heart, optimism and constant support, we truly could not imagine this organization without our Barbie.

Thank you, Barbie, for serving the women and families of The Motherhood Collective©.