Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Mommy + Me
Q + A with 15-year Veteran Mommy + Me Instructor, Synthia Praglin
Polite AF: Is there a commonality you find among new moms?
Synthia Praglin: Yes, so many new moms are without family living close by, so there is a strong desire to connect with other moms to find support and friendship as they embark on this journey. Motherhood can be an exciting and exhilarating time, but it can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. There really is no way to prepare for the many different emotions a new mom faces, not to mention all the new day to day “stuff.”
Polite AF: How about second time moms?
Synthia Praglin: 2x moms struggle with the changing dynamic in their family with the addition of the new baby. Feelings of “loss and guilt” related to the older child and often times the changes in behavior as the older child struggles with learning to share mom. These moms are eager to learn ways to juggle and feel good about what they are doing and gain tremendous support hearing that they are not alone in their experiences.
Polite AF: Do some groups come together more than others?
Synthia Praglin: Definitely! The power of the group comes from the connections made by the moms. But it’s always a random group of women who find themselves thrown together…It takes work to connect, both inside and outside of class. I find that the women who are willing to be honest, and vulnerable and truly make the effort to connect in a non judgmental way have a stronger connection with one another and to the longevity of the group. (I still see my baby group moms for occasional dinners!)
Polite As Fudge: Mommy and Me was so important to me when I had my first. It was my community. Somewhere to ask questions. A real event I could look forward to. Why do you think it's important for moms?
Synthia Praglin: Many of the moms I meet do not have family that live near by, or friends with babies. The groups become a strong source of support and friendship. Information is abundant on the internet, but it is not a substitute for the lifelong bonds that can be formed in a mommy+me group. I have seen women begin the sessions a bundle of anxiety and nerves and emerge months later feeling completely confident in their roles as mothers. Certainly, some of this is simply adjusting to motherhood, but I believe it also has so much to do with who you surround yourself with. The “tribe” is a powerful tool to raise women up and provide the support and compassion that is so needed during the early stages of this journey.
Polite As Fudge: What are you most favorite and least favorite parts of what you do?
Synthia Praglin: My favorite part is being able to provide a safe place for moms to let down and be vulnerable without judgement. There is so much competition and pressure placed on new moms to “do it right” and yet what is right for one mom may not be right for another. I encourage moms to make choices based on what is ultimately best for both them and their babies. I love seeing the moment when a mom feels a shared sense of feeling understood in the group and recognizes that she is not alone in her experience.
My least favorite part is probably saying goodbye at the end of the eight weeks to moms unable to continue because of work commitments. Years ago, many more women were able to make the choice to stay home and raise their babies. That doesn’t happen with the same frequency these days.
Polite As Fudge: Can you tell us a bit about your motherhood journey?
Synthia Praglin: I came to motherhood as an “older” mom and didn't have family or group of friends I could lean on. My own education and experience in a mommy+me group is what ultimately led me to teaching, when I realized how important the group was in myown life. As I look back on the last 18 (!) years, I think I have done a good job of raising “an adult,” though it was not without it’s moments. Raising kids is difficult even under the best of circumstances, and in my own case, coming from a very dysfunctional upbringing presented me with some very real challenges. The struggle not to repeat the past was always there, but without a blueprint of how to do that I had to rely heavily on my instincts and of course, my own mommy+me group. Fortunately, kids are very resilient :)
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever done, but it has been the most rewarding. As I look to the future and Jake leaving for college in the fall I am struggling with yet another phase of letting go and separating…but I try to listen to those who have gone before me and trust that even this separation is one that ebbs and flows and will be marked by moments of him needing me and also needing to venture out and chart his own course. (Cue the tears…)
Polite AF: What’s your best advice for new moms?
Synthia Praglin: My advice for new moms is first to ALWAYS trust your own instincts. You know your baby better than anyone else. What works, what doesn’t work. At the end of the day, when you finally put your head down on your pillow, you need to be OK with the choices you have made that day. Second, find your tribe. Motherhood was never intended to be a solo experience. Throughout civilization, there has always been a village that women could count on for support. We need to remember that there is no reason to feel we must do this on our own. Support is there, one only needs to ask for it.
You can contact Synthia at Synthiapraglin@yahoo.com
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