Being in a small town, far from your family and roots, with a newborn screaming in the other room, can be overwhelming. Like many of us that hail from other areas of the country and now call the Valley home, there are certainly times when we feel far from loved ones. And that sense is never more potent and palpable than when you are a new mom. There are, however, great resources in our community for first or even five-time moms that will not only help you find a babysitter in a pinch or give you ideas on taming colic, but will make you feel like you have a strong support system of your own.
New moms find support through programs at St. Luke's and through Facebook.
In this day and age, social media seems to have woven itself into our every waking moment, but moms in the Valley can use this to their advantage through the Sun Valley Moms Facebook site (www.facebook.com/groups/320972974606677/). Started in 2009 by Jennifer Tuohy, and recently re-vamped by Kat Vanden Heuvel, the site offers a place for moms in the Valley to ask questions about teething, find babysitters, or to vent new-mom frustrations in a supportive and non-judgmental setting.
The site has almost 200 members and is “a group for all moms in the Sun Valley area–from Fairfield to Stanley, Carey to Ketchum,” as the site explains. It encourages area moms to “share ideas, thoughts, and gripes, and celebrate our little darlings!” Other sites have popped up since the refurbishing of the Sun Valley Moms site, including the “Blaine County Kid-to-Kid Exchange,” which is an open group with 300-plus members that was created to sell or trade baby and children's clothing and toys.
If you are looking for real human contact instead of connecting with fellow moms via cyberspace, the New Moms Group at St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center is a great resource (www.stlukesonline.org). The group is run by Linda Parsons, a nurse and lactation consultant, and it is often the first and only outing for new moms in the Valley after their babies are born. The New Moms Group provides newborn and breastfeeding support, as well as an opportunity to ask and learn the basics of caring for a new baby. It is a place where many long-term friendships with other moms are formed and its members feel it helps assuage some of the fears associated with being a new mom. The group meets on Wednesdays at the hospital from noon to 1:30 p.m., and you can hear the collective sigh of relief from moms as they walk into a room full of other women donning sweatpants, wearing the familiar weary expressions of all new moms as they face the same joys and apprehensions. Lucky for new moms, there are lots of ways to get connected.
Six useful tips every parent should know
It can be an overwhelming task to weed through all of the parenting advice out there to find an approach that works for both you and your children. That’s why many local folks were thrilled when parenting expert and educator Kim Fantor led a Sun Valley Wellness Institute-sponsored workshop on the popular philosophy “Parenting with Love and Logic” in 2012. Here are few helpful parenting tips she passed along.
“When we know better, we do better,” Kim said, explaining that knowledge is power when it comes to parenting. Being prepared and keeping a few tricks in your back pocket is very helpful if (or when) your child throws a hair-raising temper-tantrum during a dinner at Desperado's.
“If you want to change your child’s behavior, you have to change your own first,” Kim said.
“Provide children with choices whenever possible to help them feel empowered,” she said. Give only two choices, and be prepared to choose one if your child refuses to. Even if it’s a small and insignificant choice, let the child choose: "Would you rather put on socks or pants first?”
“Use empathy instead of anger when your child makes a mistake,” Kim recommended. Allow them to experience the consequences of their decisions and to feel responsible for their actions through compassion: “How sad. I would be hungry too if I didn't eat my breakfast.”
“Use statements that you can realistically enforce,” she advised. Tell children what you will do instead of what they will do: "My car leaves in five minutes. Will you be wearing your clothes or bringing them in a bag to change into at school?”
Being a parent is no easy task and we all make mistakes. Try a few of these tips to strive for a household in which “the parent is still the parent in a mutually respectful and loving way,” as Kim put it. Our children are only kids for a short time, so why not try to be the best moms and dads we can be! – Margot Ramsay