Conversations



While Toras Imecha recordings are focused on the weekly Parshah and upcoming holidays, this “Conversation” page gives us a chance to share and connect with each other over different aspects of our mothering journey. I plan to post discussion questions regularly for your participation. I invite you to please share your perspective and experience with all of us. I can't wait to learn from you!

Each conversation is its own page. Please use the page numbers below to view other conversation topics.




How can we, (as a community), help women adjust to motherhood?

2020-11-17

Rebecca Masinter


Whether it’s a new mother trying to get back to feeling herself again, a young mother welcoming a new baby or simply a child’s new stage, or frankly, any mother trying to balance her life with the realities of parenting, motherhood is not for the faint-hearted. Over the last six months I’ve tried to think of ways that we, as a society, can help mothers adjust and flourish. I am very eager to hear your thoughts - I think this is an important question for us to address. I will start the conversation with one suggestion - let’s see where this takes us! 1. Focus Inwards When I was a new mother, neither my friends nor I carried cameras on us at all times. Today, we do as cell phones have become fixtures in our lives. The lack of at-hand cameras/smartphones at that time meant that I rarely if ever saw pictures of my friends’ children, their cute outfits, fun outings, and adorable smiles. I never saw the dinners they cooked, the dates they went on with their husbands, their beautifully set Shabbos tables, or their tastefully made-up faces and clothes. We rarely talked - no one texted and none of us had time or energy to make frequent chatty phone calls. When we did talk or see each other, it was in real life, where crying babies, overtired toddlers, messy houses, and fishsticks for dinner was normal. I had rough days, weeks, and months, but I was under no illusions that I was the only one struggling while everyone else coasted easily. Today’s mothers don’t have that gift of privacy. When everyone is constantly posting adorable pictures of themselves, their homes, children, and dinners, it is easy to feel inadequate. No one’s real life can compare to a carefully curated collection, and none of our “insides” can be compared to anyone else’s “outsides”. Even though we all know this intellectually, I think many mothers feel inferior when faced with constant snapshots into each other’s lives. My suggestion to help mothers is for us to stop looking at other families and focus inwards instead! If we would stop asking our kids questions about other people, (Where did your friends go on winter break? Who had a family Chanukah party in your class?), stop discussing other people, and most importantly stop phrasing our decisions in the context of what others decide, we would be moving towards reclaiming privacy for our homes. If we stop downloading every WhatsApp picture or video that comes our way, and if we don’t constantly snap our own pictures to share, and if we explain to our children why we cherish privacy, we may help our children grow up to live their lives without constant comparisons to how others appear to live theirs . If our daughters grow up in homes with mothers who consciously focus inwards, they will IY”H grow up into wives and mothers who can do the same. Perhaps this is a way to help mothers adjust to the realities of motherhood - which are certainly unique to each family and non-comparable to any other.



2020-11-17

Danielle Evenski


Rebecca, thank you for the clarity of your thought, and for putting into words such a helpful idea. Baruch Hashem, I am a new mom to a just-turned-one year old. I sometimes find myself craving connection for or with another mom, the desire to share some of the thoughts that go through my head or some of the intense feelings that I think must be a normal part of growing up into motherhood... The desire to share, be heard and see myself identified in other moms. I didn't know how important community is, I didn't know how much I would long to connect with other moms. That being said, perhaps for the exact reasons you've outlined in your post, I shy away from social media as I do want to protect the privacy of our son and keep my thoughts in check. Especially in a moment of vulnerability, my temptation to compare, is often there. The "online", social media world doesn't feel like a safe space to be real (about the "easy" and "challenging" parts of being a parent). Spaces such as this one open lines of communication; thank you so much! I don't think this is a quantifiable idea, but in general, I think we can help new moms by truly listening, offering a true listening ear, and in doing so provide acceptance and validation at a time when so much, everything is new. We can check in with one another, because sometimes we need reminders to slow down and check in with ourselves, and connecting with others can inspire moments of reflection. Thank you again for all YOU do! Please excuse the more personal detail, but as a US expat living abroad (my husband is Argentine), I am especially thankful to receive your WhatsApp messages and to have sites such as this; when I crave ENGLISH community such groups are simply a blessing! This is my first time posting, but for the above mentioned reasons, I am thankful to be able to share and reach out too. Shalom to all!
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2020-11-17

Ruthie Abraham


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Danielle. I feel as though you capture a lot of the feelings I had as a first time mom. I also became a first time mother far away from my own mother and sisters as we had recently moved to Israel several years before having our oldest. I agree with you about social media but I will say how ive approached it since I can really empathise and relate to craving some English!! :) I use Instagram but in a very specific way. A) I don’t post on it myself so I’m that way I’m not sharing any details or pictures with the world about my family but how I do use it is B) as a feed of information that does inspire me and help give me strength as a parent. Ie: I don’t follow fashion bloggers and “perfect parents” but rather I seek out the people who share my values and ideals when it comes to parenting. So that means when I go into Instagram I end up leaving t feeling a sense of kinship with other moms around the world and a sense of inspiration and joy that everything will be okay even if I had a bad day or what not. This does mean you have to be very careful about who you follow and frequently assess if your feed is serving you or not. In addition to parenting I also like to follow good people who talk about marriage bc I feel like it helps me to focus on that part of my life and constantly be encouraged to work on it. So I follow others who talk about topics that I’m interested in and enjoy and also who come from the perspective that I do so I gain from that content and am uplifted rather then feeling less then or comparing my life to a strangers. Anyways, hope that helps and sending you lots of encouragement!
2020-11-17

Rebecca


Hi Danielle! Thank you for your insightful contribution. I appreciate how you highlighted the flipside of limiting social media, which is deepening real social interactions. Yes, of course, all mothers (not just new ones!) need to feel connection and validation from each other. I agree with you that an important way of supporting new moms is to listen to them and build a real relationship. I think that as so many of us are rushing and juggling more than ever before, it has become more difficult to do that. When my mother was a young mother, she and her friends had a weekly morning park-date called the "Mommy Shiur". The kids played, while the moms shared Torah and talked. Today, it's harder to squeeze that in, but it's just as necessary! Thank you for the reminder.

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