Green Mama: One Hilltown Mother’s Journey into “Greendom”

Hilltown Families Contributing Writer

No Such Thing As a Perfect Parent

Nobody ever said parenting was easy, but we certainly don’t make it easier on ourselves … and I’m no exception.

I am a 38-year-old mother of three — almost-11-year-old twins McKenna and Max, and 8-year-old Shea — I am somewhat of a perfectionist in certain aspects of my life, and I am slightly competitive too. (People who are reading this and who know me are having a good chuckle right now.) So, OK … I am VERY competitive. Those traits have served me well in school, in sports, and in my careers, but as a parent? Let’s just say that sometimes those traits can cause a little anxiety, quite a bit of insanity, and a whole lot of guilt.

I used to handle my downfalls as a parent much better when my twins were younger. How was I supposed to know that if the childproof lock on the food cabinet broke that it would result in a “fluffernuttered” black lab? Or that if you leave Vaseline on a changing table outside your two-year-old twins’ bedroom that their heads would glisten for days, or at least until you and your husband discovered that vinegar would return their hair back to a normal sheen?

But after Shea was born, and all three kids began to get older, my parenting mishaps seemed to matter more, almost as if one little parenting mistake could set my kids on a path for failure, destined for a life of crime. And that’s when the guilt, that I know every parent has experienced at one time or another, began to set in …

Was I “really” doing the best job that I could as a parent? Was I reading enough to my kids? Playing enough? Teaching enough? Was I yelling too much? Expecting too much? Giving too much? The guilt became overwhelming and it was beginning to depress me … and as my husband has often said, “If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy.” (I think that statement alone puts undo pressure on the mothers of the world, but that’s an entirely different topic.) But really, it was true — for a while.

My latest parental guilt fest occurred about a month ago, when I was watching an episode of Oprah. (No, I don’t have time to watch it daily, but I do TIVO it and try to sneak an episode or two in every weekend.) The episode previewed the new “Food Inc.” documentary about the food industry, and what we as a society were putting into our food and in turn, our bodies. Suddenly, the words of my friend, who I consider a “stereotypical hilltown” mom, were echoing in my brain: “Our kids only get one body in this lifetime, so I’m going to make sure I give my kids the best one I can.” She was talking about eating organically, and doing without the extra chemicals and preservatives that have become a major staple within the food industry. She wanted to ensure that she did everything she could to ensure that her kids were feeling the best they could physically and mentally.  Read the rest of this entry »

It Takes A Village: A New Initiative for Families in the Hilltowns with Newborns

It Takes A Village Hosts an Open House
February 28th, 2010 in Cummington, MA

It Takes a Village‘ is a free-of-charge, community service that supports families for the first three months after a baby is born. A family is matched with a volunteer who visits the family home on a weekly basis, providing support with anything from meal preparation and dishwashing, to companionship and playing with older children.

The Village is modeled after Many Mothers in Santa Fe, NM. We are based in the Hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, and dedicate our service to the memory of Heather Egan, who gave her own life bringing a new one into the world.

‘It Takes a Village’ was initiated by Maureen Shea after her son was born last autumn. The first six weeks were the most trying time Maureen had ever experienced and she spoke with her midwives, Tanya Rapinchuk and Lucinda McGovern about the extra support needed for families with newborns.

“There was one particular afternoon when my good friend Samantha came over for a couple of hours and in that time she folded laundry, helped me make dinner, made space for me to express my woes and was a generally glowing support”, Maureen shared, “and that visit was a turning point for me in my healing after the birth”.

Lucinda sent a copy of the Many Mothers manual to Maureen and along with Heather Cupo, Davio Danielson, Bi-sek Hsiao, Jaylin Stahl and Anna Toth, ‘It Takes a Village’ was born.

OPEN HOUSE – 02/28/2010 from 2-4pm

At the OPEN HOUSE on February 28th, 2010 in Cummington from 2-4pm, the founders will introduce ‘It Takes a Village‘ to the community at the Cummington Community House at 33 Main Street in Cummington, MA. Expectant families, families with newborns and interested volunteers are warmly welcome. All those who already work with families post-partum are invited to join us and to add their contact information to our list of resources.

The OPEN HOUSE is a family-friendly event! There will be an appearance of the Green Tara puppet from Moejo puppets as well as an excerpt from Maureen’s latest performance piece, Tremble.

Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in Northampton

Cooley Dickinson Hospital Childbirth Center takes baby steps toward national initiative

Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Childbirth Center in Northampton, MA has received a certificate of intent from the UNICEF/World Health Organization Baby-Friendly USA Hospital initiative. Receiving this document is a first step in Cooley Dickinson’s application process toward becoming certified as a Baby-Friendly hospital, according to this organization’s ten-step process.

Paula Mattson, international board certified lactation consultant and the hospital’s liaison to the Baby-Friendly initiative says the receipt of the certificate indicates “Cooley Dickinson has joined other pioneering birth facilities in setting standards of excellence for assisting pregnant women and new mothers with breastfeeding.”

“While the certificate recognizes Cooley Dickinson’s commitment to breastfeeding and to the completion of the first phase of the application process, additional steps such as nurse and physician training need to occur before the Childbirth Center can promote itself as a Baby-Friendly hospital,” adds Mattson. Boston Medical Center is the only Massachusetts hospital that has met all standards of the Baby-Friendly USA Hospital Initiative.

The certificate of intent lauds Cooley Dickinson Hospital for its “sincere commitment to promote, support and protect breastfeeding by striving to implement the Ten Steps to successful breastfeeding of the UNICEF/WHO Baby-Friendly Hospital initiative.” Mattson says Cooley Dickinson employees are working toward those steps, which according to the UNICEF/WHO include:

  1. Maintaining a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
  2. Training all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
  3. Informing all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
  4. Helping mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  5. Showing mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  6. Giving breastfeeding infants no food or drink other than breast milk, unless medically indicated.
  7. Practicing “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  8. Encouraging unrestricted breastfeeding.
  9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
  10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

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Friendships May Help Mothers Tend to Their Children

Thank you to Dina Raymond of Goshen, MA for sharing this study.

UCLA Study on Friendship Among Women
by Gale Berkowitz

Bouquet of Black-eyed Susan

"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out." - Walter Winchell (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It’s a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research—most of it on men—upside down.

Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study’s authors.

It’s an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers. Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight!

In fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.

This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it!

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic “aha” moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded, says Dr. Klein.

When the men were stressed they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something.

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the “tend and befriend” notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. There’s no doubt, says Dr. Klein, that friends are helping us live longer.

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Guest Blogger: Ellen Doyle

Rodents?  What rodents?
By Ellen Doyle, HF Guest Blogger

Scrabble tiles are a delicacy. (Photo Credit: Ellen Doyle)

Living in an old house in the hilltowns, we’ve had mice flock in each fall only to journey back out into the world each spring. We’ve learned the hard way not to store birdseed or cracked corn inside the house lest we find little piles of it hidden in some warm dresser drawer. We now keep baking chocolate sealed up tight because mice don’t care if it’s sweet or not. We’ve often labeled one jar of peanut butter for human consumption and the other for Havahart trap baiting. Oh, and the scrubbing! I’ve scoured entire contents of kitchen drawers and spice cabinets after discovering one tiny dropping. I’ve even given in and called an exterminator when the epidemiologist in me concluded that health risks to family (Salmonella) outweighed any concerns about karmic justice. I mean, we really tried. Usually, we could get the mice under control.

Last fall I got my first inkling that the rodent situation might be a little bit worse in the coming cold season. The chilly October temps brought a slew of little creatures in from the elements. Chipmunks scurried around the wood pile. Red squirrel footprints led right up to the house and disappeared. And, a few of the mice who were supposed to have made their own way in the world during the summer months decided they liked hanging out in our cool basement.

I’ve heard that the rodent population has exploded in recent years, not just in the hilltowns, but all over. Perhaps global warming is to blame. In any case, the furry little foragers got the better of me. Let me tell you what happened…

My husband and son were playing Scrabble on the floor recently when their game got interrupted. They left the tiles in place thinking they’d be coming back to finish up. After a couple of days, I really needed to vacuum and decided to put the game away. Curiously, I could only locate seven Scrabble tiles. After a cursory glance around the living room, I decided to quiz my family. No one had any idea where the tiles had gone. Suspecting that some of them may have been hidden on purpose, I offered a free ice cream cone to anyone who could locate them. We searched behind furniture, under rugs and in the wood pile. Finally, when I saw my son looking up at the smoke detector as a possible location, I knew we had a true mystery on our hands.

A few evenings later I was rearranging the bookshelf near the woodstove when I hit the mother lode in the binding of a photo album. Not only did I find numerous Scrabble tiles socked away, but I was also happy to discover a missing chocolate chip, some macaroni noodles from a kindergarten art project and few grains of dried rice. Leaping into disease-ridding mode I trashed the old food and commenced a frenzy of hole-plugging and caulking every crack thicker than a whisker. I dumped the Scrabble tiles into a big bowl of hot, soapy water. After they had a good soak, I spread them on a towel on the kitchen counter to dry overnight.

The next morning: Sleepily wandering into the kitchen in search of coffee, I spotted the tile towel on the counter, COMPLETELY DEVOID OF TILES. I ran upstairs to question my husband, who swore he had not touched the tiles.  My son  had been tucked into bed happily asleep during the whole tile-drying time. Fearing a ghost (perhaps one attempting to spell a message?), I returned downstairs quaking. Had to have that coffee.

The next night: A brilliant idea! I would conduct an experiment. I furiously searched for the Scrabble game I’d cleaned up a few days before and located the 7 remaining tiles tucked into the box. I would tempt the creature to take the last 7 and then would know for sure that Scrabble tiles are a delicacy. I carefully arranged the tiles on the kitchen floor to avoid little footprints on the counter and went to bed.

Morning #2: I anxiously peered into the kitchen to see what results my experiment had yielded. Drum roll, please… Ta Da! The tiles were still there, just as I had left them. A little disappointed not to have lured the creature out of hiding, I set about trying to figure out what had happened.

Conclusion: Some friends and family went so far as to use the “R” word, causing me to shudder, imagining a pack rat in our house! Luckily, we don’t possess much in the way of expensive, shiny jewel-type objects them might temp such a creature. However, after an exhaustive web search, my husband came up with what I think is the most plausible explanation for Scrabble tile hoarding. Check out this little creature.

I doubt if gerbils have found their way into our home, but I wouldn’t put it past a little red squirrel… Oh, as for those remaining tiles, I suspect they don’t have the same delicious varnish on them that the stolen ones did. Our Scrabble set was inherited from the neighbors and has probably traveled through about 10 families and had countless replacement tiles before making it into our living room. We’ll need a new Scrabble game. And a cat.  Read the rest of this entry »

In Their Beginning I See My End

In their Beginning I see my end
By Saborna Roychowdhury, HF Guest Writer

I have a strange relationship with my twin daughters. They are only ten months old and beautiful… big brown eyes full of mischief, chubby rounded cheeks and mouse like front teeth. When they smile, my heart melts. How did I create something so beautiful? I stare at my own creation day and night. Their skin glows, their hair shines, their teeth and nails grow stronger everyday.

My skin is losing its luster. My hair is no longer thick and shiny, darker shades circle my eyes. The pregnancy fatigue is visible all over my body… the skin folds and bulges, my knees ache and threaten to crumble and heavy breathing follows every exertion. In their beautiful beginning I am starting to see my end.

The twins flash their teeth at me… tiny, inviting, endlessly mischievous. They are crawling these days; their curiosity grows with every step. They want to grab things and make them their own. They lick, they touch, and they feel. Their enthusiasm for life grows everyday. My twins are hungry, they like their world, and they want to own their own world.

My enthusiasm is waning. To me everything looks the same as if I have seen them a thousand times. I know I am not winning a Pulitzer for writing my book or going to Hollywood to be an actress. Human behavior in general has disappointed me and I know that there will always be war and inequality. The sunrise and sunset, the long walks and the beautiful poems all look and sound the same. The novelty is dead. In their beautiful beginning I am starting to see my end.

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The Birth Circle

Kirsten Kowalski-Lane of Florence, MA writes:

The Massachusetts Friends of Midwives (MFOM) is hosting a statewide program of Birth Circle meetings for pregnant women to meet with women who have already birthed with midwives.

The Birth Circle is a meeting of like-minded moms interested in sharing support, information and personal experiences about pregnancy & birth. Each meeting begins with a positive hospital/birth center birth and a positive home birth story. After the stories, discussion topics will be based on the pregnancy and parenting questions of the group. So if you’re a mom-to-be who plans on birthing with a midwife, come join our Birth Circle and discuss diverse birth stories with inspirational women!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Milk Bank of New England

Mother’s Milk Bank of New England Update

Mother’s Milk Bank of New England, located here in Massachusetts, has just published their first e-newsletter to keep supporters of the milk bank up-to-date on their progress and any new developments. In their first newsletter readers can learn about scheduled medical education programs and how the milk bank won $10,000 in a national competition for businesses and social entrepreneurs to earn financial support.

MMBNE is looking for volunteers, including writers for their newsletter, professionals to serve on their planning board, folks to help establish milk collection depots and help with fundraising. For more information email Tanya at info@valleybreastfeeding.org.

Related Post: Breastmilk Banking in Western Mass

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work happens yearly on a Thursday in April.

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work is a national public education program that connects what children learn at school with the actual working world. By accompanying their parents and guardians to the workplace, girls and boys across the country discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life.

The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation offers a great web site worth perusing if you are thinking of taking your kids (ages 8-18 ) to work for this special day. On their Activity Center Page parents can find:

Celebrate Japanese Girl’s Day with a Mother/Daughter Tea

CELEBRATE GIRLS DAY IN SHELBURNE FALLS
at the Children’s Art Museum

Kokeshi DollsHilltown Families and CAM present a special Mother/Daughter Tea this Friday, February 29th at 4pm, just prior to Japan’s National Girls Day at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelburne Falls, MA (same building as the Trolley Museum).

This Mother/Daughter Tea is a community celebration to honor happiness and health of our girls. Peach Blossom tea and symbolic snacks will be served. Participants are encouraged to dress festively and to bring a snack to share, especially snacks that are pink (implies peach flowers), white (implies snow), and green (implies new growth) foods, fruit, sweet rice cakes, and vegetable sushi.

Collectively, participants can create a display to honor girls with small objects, pictures or poems brought from home. All are welcome to add to the display and to offer a word or two about their contribution.

Japan’s National Girls Day is also know as the Japanese Doll Festival, or Hinamatsuri. Girls are welcomed to bring along their favorite doll. Our craft will be Kokeshi Dolls, traditional wooden Japanese dolls (pictured above). All ages are welcomed. Pre-registration is required ($). Click here reserve your spot, or call 413.625.2030.


Suggested Titles:

  • Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns And Stars!
    by Betty Reynolds
  • Tea Ceremony: Asian arts & crafts for creative kids
    by Shozo Sato, Alice Ogura Sato, Masturah Jeffrey (Illustrator)
  • Best-Loved Children’s Songs from Japan
    by Yoko Imoto
  • Girl’s Day in Hawaii with Yuki-chan
    by Tokie Ikeda Ching, Sets Arai (Illustrator)

Suggested Events 02/09/08 – 02/15/08

LOCAL WOMEN TAKE WINTER TO THE MAT WITH FUN FAMILY EVENTS!

Cup & Top turns 2!I don’t know about you, but for me the hardest time of the year to be living in New England is the next six weeks (which is right up there with black fly season!). Since the first snow fall in early November, winter has been a cold, dark and sometime deary companion. Fortunately there are many mothers and women in our community who are enriching our winter days with a wealth of opportunities to get out and about with our families this weekend:

  • Helen Kahn from Cup & Top is having a birthday party and everyone is invited! Cup & Top is turning two and she’s throwing a shin dig with music, art, cake and more.
  • If you’re looking to get outdoors, Lauren Abend is hosting the Path of the Otter nature program for kids right here in the hilltowns!
  • And Marla BB, from Hilltown Wilderness Adventures, is offering another outdoor opportunity with dog sled rides for families, also here in the hilltowns! It was a big hit last week.
  • Eva Christoph from the Art Bridge will be hosting their second Saturday potluck performance in Shelburne. Get creative and move your body!
  • Nan Parati from Elmer’s is throwing a concert and serving up some great Cajun food. in Ashfield. Get out and celebrate Mardi Gras!
  • Tony(a) Lemos will be offering a culture through art workshop at the Children’s Art Museum in Shelbrune Falls (co-sponsored by Hilltown Families), followed by a kids multi-language concert. Get a cultural dose of Russian and Spanish fun!
  • Laurie Broussard & Laura Cayer from the Pop Rockets will be jamming it up at the Children’s Museum in Holyoke with their band for the museum family fun night. These ladies are so fun!

Wow! What a great list of fun events and powerhouse women! Have a wonderful weekend!

SUBMIT AN EVENT

If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, or would like to submit your event to the Hilltown Families calendar of Suggested Events, email Sienna at swildfield@juno.com, or post your event on our community bulletin board. Comments are warmly welcomed!

Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings & Delays

Events Happening in the Hilltowns
The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:
(>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

Saturday – 02/09

8am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) While traveling around town, tune-in to WXOJ 103.3 FM in Northampton, MA, from 8-10am to hear fabulous family-friendly music on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child . [All ages] (Free)

8am & 9:15am – KIDS BASKETBALL – (Worthington) Throughout the winter months, the Worthington Recreation Department is offering co-ed basketball program for kids at the town hall. Grades 1-2 begin at 8am. Grades 3-4 begin at 9:15am. No registration is necessary. 413.238.5500 [Ages 6-9] (Free)

10am – 6pm – BIRTHDAY PARTY – (Florence) Cup & Top is turning 2! Come celebrate their reaching the toddler stage with a day full of free events. At 10am, Northampton’s Elena Ciampa and Russ Neiman will perform spanish & latin music for the kids! From 1pm – 3pm: Rhymes with Orange cartoonist Hilary Price book signing! And from 4pm – 6pm: Art Opening for Cummington Artist Leni Fried with live music by Cummington’s Radio Free Earth! They will also unveil their whimsical mural that Leni painted for the cafe playspace! [Families] (Free)

10am – Noon – VALENTINE’S DAY – (Holyoke) Join artist Marjorie Latham for a creative, hands-on workshop on the art of crafting valentines at the Wistariahurst Museum. 413.322.5660 [Families] (>$)

10am – CHOCOLATE HISTORY – (Deerfield) Take the kids to learn about the history and making of chocolate at the Historic Deerfield Museum for their American Heritage Chocolate Celebration. Get a jump on your Valentine’s Day festivities while you join fellow “chocoholics” for a day filled with chocolate treats and historical facts. A special focus this year will be on American Heritage Chocolate, a re-creation of colonial American chocolate produced by the Historic Division of Mars, Inc. [Families] (Borrow a museum pass from your local library, $)

10am – Noon – NATURE EXPLORATIONS – (Easthampton) Tracking at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Identifying and following an animal track can teach us a lot about the animals that live in our area and their behavior. The forest is full of signs of wildlife. We will learn to read these tracks and signs, which provide both mysteries and some answers. Dress appropriately for the weather, since we will be walking in the forest. Registration is required, unless otherwise noted. 413.584.3009 [Ages 5-12] ($)

10am-1pm – NATURE PROGRAM – (Ashfield) The Path of the Otter, the series of three Saturday earth awareness and nature exploration classes begins. Click HERE for program details. [Ages 5-7] ($$$)

11am-7pm – WINTER FEST – (Amherst) Indoor and outdoor activities for children, families and adults at the Cherry Hill Golf course. It’s a go snow or no snow. They will have plenty of non-snow related activities for everyone. All activities are included with your admission fee. Click here for more info. [Families] ($)

11am – 8pm – FAMILY FREE DAY AT MASS MOCA – (North Adams) A festive family affair with projects for the kids, demos, films, tours, ice cream, and more. 413.MoCA.111

Noon – 4pm – MUSHING – (Goshen) Bring the family to DAR State Park for a fun hands-on afternoon demonstration. Dog sled rides will be offered. There is also ice skating on the lake, so bring your ice skates. Dress for the weather. For more information call Hilltown Wilderness Adventures at 413.296.0187. [Families] ($)

2pm – STORYTELLING – (Holyoke) Rivers, Mountains & Legends: An Afternoon of Storytelling. The Wistariahurst Museum welcomes long-time storytellers Dan Shanahan, Megan Moore and Carla Bee in the telling of stories that celebrate the earth and all of its creatures! All three are founding members of Boston’s Stone Soup Poets and Drumlin, which is a collaborative arts ensemble. 413.322.5660 [Families] ($)

4pm-6:50pm – ICE SKATING – (Amherst) There will be a public skate at the Mullins Center Ice Rink. Skate rentals available. 413.545.3990 [Families] ($)

4pm – 7pm – FAMILY FUN NIGHT & KIDS CONCERT – (Holyoke) The Children’s Museum at Holyoke will be hosting their 2nd annual “For the Love of the Museum” affair. There will be crafts, food, live music with live music by the Pop Rockets, A2Z Yo-yo team and kids self-defense demo, and more. 413.625.8275 [Families] ($)

6pm – PERFORMANCE POTLUCK – (Shelburne) Art Bridge will be hosting their first Saturday Performance Potluck. Bring a dish to share and come enjoy music, dancing, performance and art. 413.625.8275 [Families] (Donation, $)

7pm – PERFORMANCE – (Amherst) Cirque Sublime will be at the Mullins Center on the UMass Campus. Click here for more information. [Families] ($$)

7:30pm – MARDI GRAS CONCERT – (Ashfield) Eilen Jewell concert at Ashfield’s Town Hall with cajun food by Elmer’s. Click here to read more. Costume optional. [Families] ($$)

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Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition Hosts Open House and Training

Did you know that …

  • 80% of mothers experience some symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety within the first year of motherhood
  • 10-25% of mothers (26-32% of teen mothers!) develop diagnosable postpartum depression or anxiety
  • The suicide risk for American women jumps seventy-fold in the first year after they give birth*
  • With approximately 8,000 births per year in Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden counties, it can be estimates that at any given time 6,000 mothers are experiencing significant postpartum stress, and 800-2000 mothers are experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety

The Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Coalition of Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden Counties will host an Open House and Training on Wednesday, February 6 from 9:30-11:30am in the Upstairs Room at Community Action (56 Vernon Street) in Northampton, MA. Refreshments and networking begin at 9:15am. This event is FREE and open to the public. If you work with pregnant women and mothers, or are a member of the public who is interested in this topic, this open house and training is where you want to be on February 6th! Read the rest of this entry »

Mother’s Circle in NOHO

The Struggle to Raise Jewish Children
by Shoshana Zonderman, Hilltown Families Guest Writer

When I became a Jewish mother in 1981, I had many questions about the “best” way to raise a child with a strong Jewish identity. I read the popular parenting books that were suggested by my friends, but there was nothing available about Jewish values for parenting. I lived a highly engaged Jewish life and I took my Jewish identity for granted. I never thought about how to best transmit that identity to a child, assuming that it would just happen by osmosis.

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Hilltown Families Celebrate Mother’s Day Together in West Chesterfield

The Price of Missing Marbles

(c) Hilltown Families - 3rd Annual Mother's Day Pancake Breakfast (2007 - West Chesterfield)On Sunday we hosted our 3rd Annual Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast and spent a beautiful spring morning with other Hilltown families. The pancake breakfast is one of our signature community celebrations, and for several families this was their first pancake breakfast encounter. I’d say we’ve hosted around 20 community pancake breakfasts over the past several years, and between the changing seasons, growing kids and new families joining us, each one has offered its own unique experience.

While each breakfast might be unique, there remain a few constants. The smoke detectors go off, the floor in the living room becomes a sea of toys, Jim juices the oranges and some things inevitably break. Coffee mugs and old china have hit the floor. Art work has come crashing off the walls. Favorite toys have been dismembered. And somehow the preschoolers end up stripping down and running around in their underwear. Read the rest of this entry »

Web Sites: Mother’s Day

MOTHER’S DAY SITES TO PERUSE

A Mother’s Day Tribute
Several articles describe how Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May) was founded by Anna Jarvis in tribute to her mother, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, for her tireless accomplishments and selfless humanitarian services as a mother. The articles include portraits, photos, the Birthplace Museum, the International Mother’s Day Shrine, the meaning of carnation symbols, and genealogical data of the Jarvis family. [LII 03]

Julia Ward Howe: The Woman Behind Mother’s Day
Video and transcript about Julia Ward Howe, “the author of the ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic,’ [who] began advocating for a mother’s day for peace in 1870.” Features an interview with an author of a Howe biography, and Julia Ward Howe’s 1870 Mother’s Day proclamation. From Democracy Now!, a daily radio and TV news program. [LII 06]

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Trolly Rides for Hilltown Moms

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