The Power of Mothers’ Groups
March 2, 2010 · Posted in Marriage, Mental Health, Parenting · Permalink

DSC00086-250x250Motherhood can be an oddly lonely time of life.  It is ironic that in some ways you may have never felt so connected to another human being and so alone at the same time.  Surrounded by a sea of other mothers you can still feel isolated.  Even if you have a partner who is invested  in the details of your children’s lives, the nature of our society and the division of labor demands that most of the time we parent alone.

Lisa and I were exceedingly  lucky. We met while working at Bellevue Hospital before we had our first children, who coincidentally  came within months of each other. During the early months of new motherhood, now at home with our babies,  we moved from being colleagues to being each others friends, confidants, and second set of eyes, ears and hands for each others’ children. We counted on each other for honest feedback and advice.  It is this combination, knowing each other and each others’ children deeply that turned what could have been a lonely endeavor into a shared journey. We also hatched the plan for our current practice with its mother’s groups during that time. Much of the impetus was our desire to create the kind of forum, support and companionship we had found in each other for other new parents.

We have now been running these groups for 22 years.  Our longest running group is 16 years old! Once a week for 1 and 1/2 hours 7-10 mothers (and a handful of dads) meet in our comfortable and peaceful office and talk. These parenting groups are the place where mothers can find the companionship, support and honest feedback. It is here they can share any and all aspects of life- marriage, families of origin, babysitters, friendships, work, sex, weight, anger,the gamut. and as many of the groups continue over the years  and families grow, the breadth and scope of these discussions grow as well- sibling rivalry, marital discord, choosing schools, teaching kids about sex, deciding about religion, again the gamut. There is  always tons of laughing and plenty of tears.

It has been an honor and a pleasure for us to lead and participate in these groups. We asked group members to share what this experience has meant for them:

“Our group gives me a safe, neutral place where I can candidly bring all my questions, doubts, fears and celebrations to bear without having to screen for judgment.  I know I have an incredibly talented therapist along with six other remarkable mothers who are all in my corner. Probably not a day goes by that I don’t refer back to some parenting tool, skill or philosophy took away from my Soho Parenting Mothers Circle.”   Cara Marriott, full time mother of 3

“I can’t imagine journeying down this complicated yet joyous path of motherhood without it.  I get insight and wisdom on all aspects of parenting as well as guidance with compassion and learned expertise.” Anne Patterson, set and costume designer, mother of 3

“I was so fortunate to be in a Mothers Circle at Soho Parenting. I looked forward to it every Monday, having coffee and talking with other moms. We talked about many different issues that were so important.  I have passed on so much information Lisa gave me that I seem like the expert!  I really loved the group!” Molly Shannon, actor, mother of 2

“Jean and the other mothers in my circle group have been an incredibly valuable resource and I am always amazed at what I learn about myself and my own relationships when I come in to talk about my “parenting issues.”   Jennifer Daniels, full time mother of 3

” As a new mother- Soho Parenting was and still is my oasis- joining a group of other mothers/fathers who were just as committed, mystified and terrified as I was – is by far the most rewarding investment …3 kids and 6 years later our parenting group is still together – still helping each other through ever-changing terrain.”   Debra Eisenstadt, actress, director, writer and mother of 3

” I have been in a Mothers Circle for almost a year now, and it has saved my life as a parent. Jean not only offers us the developmental back story on what is happening inside the minds and bodies of our kids, but has a real intuitive grasp on who they are as individuals.”   Leslie Astor, full time mother of 3

“What is Soho Parenting to me?  My keel.  My family is the ship… Soho Parenting keeps us steady as we sail!”   Norma Katz, full time mother of 2

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