In Linda Szmulewitz’s interview we discuss:
- About the Chicago New Mom’s Group and why she created it
- A brief overview of the 6-week course curriculum:
- Week 1 – How motherhood is different from anything you’ve done before
- Week 2 – Shifts in relationships after you become a mother
- Week 3 – All about sleep!
- Week 4 – Developmental skills & starting solids
- Week 5 – Going back to work or not; our identities as mothers
- Week 6 – Body image and postpartum issues
- Linda’s really great list of “all of the things that moms never thought about before they have their first child“
- How being a mother is VERY different from being a babysitter or camp counselor
- Navigating the overwhelming amount of information about parenting and child rearing
- Judgement of mothers, and the importance of coming from a stance of curiosity and compassion when talking with other moms about how they do things
- The notion of “doing it all” ourselves and learning to seek and accept help, especially in the beginning
- Postpartum depression and anxiety, and where to go for help
- How critical having a group of moms to lean upon is, and the importance of getting together in person
- Tips for finding your mom tribe
Carrie’s favorite quotes from the interview:
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or you’re a journalist, or a physician, or a professor. Whoever you are before you become a mom, nothing prepares you for this experience.”
“Because we can get information from so many different sources and we often get that information in a very isolated way, it becomes overwhelming. I think it’s actually a big cause of so much depression and anxiety, because we’re constantly trying to live up to this unrealistic standard set by these so-called experts and it’s really overwhelming.”
“It’s really hard to be a good mom. And so much pressure to do it right because you have all this information. Really it serves to do the opposite.”
- P.A.C.E. – Washington, DC New Moms Group
- The full list of “everything you never knew about motherhood until you became a mom“
- Peanut – Mom Dating app!
- Holistic Moms Network – Carrie’s favorite in-person mom group that was helpful as new mom!
Linda talks motherhood:
What would you tell an expecting mom about the experience of being a mother?
That it is nothing like you expect it to be. That it is a constantly changing experience and one that you can have multiple feelings about all at the same time. For instance you can love your child and be so mad them all at the same time. Also, that it requires more patience then you ever thought was humanly possible.
What is the hardest part about being a mom? Biggest frustrations?
Always wondering if what my child is experiencing is normal or if there is something more I should be doing to help them with a challenge or frustration or are these normal parts of growing up that I should be letting them work through and learn from.
What is your favorite part about being a mom? What makes all the hard stuff worth it?
Watching them learn and use their knowledge out in the world, particularly when I am not around and I hear about them problem solving something that we have worked on together and then they are now doing independently. Of course, it is great when they come back and tell me but even better when I hear from another parent or a teacher that my child was kind or respectful for polite in a way that maybe they aren’t always at home but at least they know what is right.
Linda Szmulewitz, LCSW - Chicago New Moms Group
Linda Szmulewitz is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a certified Gentle Sleep Coach. 7 years ago, she developed an educational and supportive program for first time moms of babies 0-6 months old called The Chicago New Moms Group. The group offers 6 week sessions that provide new moms with an opportunity to come together in a non judgmental and nurturing environment to both connect with others in similar circumstances and to find answers to many new parenting questions.
In additional to developing and running The Chicago New Moms Group, Linda works as a sleep consultant for children ages 0-6 years old to help their improve family functioning by empowering parents to help their children learn the life long skill of sleep. Through a process that involves a comprehensive assessment and consultation and the development of a plan, parents are given the tools to help their children learn how to sleep at all stages and in a variety of circumstances. By starting where the family is and working through each family's individual goals, parents are able to successfully teach their children this essential skill.