A Museum about Moms – Who Knew?

MOM_Logo_8_14I crossed as the red hand flashed solid on the corner of 84th and 2nd in Manhattan to discover a sign in front of a building that said “Museum of Motherhood”.  It’s about time, I thought.

As you walk downstairs to enter the Museum, there is a large painted sign in black letters stating:

“Humanity depends on motherhood.  I can think of no other subject so wildly misunderstood, underfunded and understudied.  We’re here to change that.  Together, we will put motherhood on the map and dispel myths that have kept women, caregivers and birthers marginalized and educate using our strong voices…” Joy Rose 

Once you arrive downstairs, the space looks like an art museum as the exhibits are so beautifully laid out – with a library including a massage chair, as well as a snack and activity area for kids as you enter.  I sat and looked at a book on “Mommy Guilt” and after reading that yelling at your kids is a moms’ number one reason to feel guilty, I suddenly felt very at home with my sister mommies.

If you choose, you can try on the weight of a pregnant belly but since I’ve already carried twins, I passed on that.  I hope some men keep it on for the whole visit!

Here were some amazing facts I learned about mothers:

In the U.S. in 1970, 70% of women with children under the age of 6 were homemakers and 30% worked.  Today the numbers are reversed.

When Birth Control was approved in 1962, the average number of children per household was 3.6 and by 1980, it was 2.  In the U.S., 100 million women are currently on Birth Control.

60% of women in the world today give birth without the aid of a trained professional.

The exhibits were delightfully varied – from a scene of a room with an old sewing machine from the 1800s that explained about the role moms played in turning their house into a home to a tribute to moms in rock bands that included a dress worn by a singer that was made out of individual cereal boxes!

There is also a larger play-space for kids.

It was so exciting  to reflect on the history of motherhood and why mothers need to be honored and appreciated.  Take a moment now to feel inside you the gift you strive to give to your family each day as a mom.

It’s located at 401 East 84th street between 1st and York – contact www.MOMmuseum.org  for additional information.

This article is also be posted in the Wellness section of http://www.myculturemagazine.com

I get by with a little help from my friends…

mnn2SRkSome stress is a part of life and can even motivate us to do our best – like the rush you get before a show or a presentation at work.  But when stress reaches high levels it is dangerous to our health and can paralyze us from making positive changes in our lives.

So here’s my advice for combating stress. Don’t go it alone. Reach out to your female friends for love, support and just plain fun.  It’s easy for me to correlate times in my life when I was happier and less stressed with the quality and/or quantity of my female friends.  As a girl, I had a best friend for years named Lizzie and that meant I always had someone to sit with at lunch or to go ice-skating with or to just watch The Brady Bunch.  Not to mention sleepovers – if those aren’t the cat’s pajamas, I don’t know what is.

I also remember the emptiness I felt the first year at Connecticut College because I had no friends, or how depressing it was to be isolated in my early years as a Stay-at-home Mom. Friends are that important.

There is even evidence that we live longer when we have strong female friendships. In this article on women’s friendships ,  they site research in the area of friendships such as how in The Tending Instinct, Shelly Taylor found women’s relationships and need for community is based in our DNA and can also be seen by studying animals.

A study at UCLA School of Medicine discovered that when we’re with our female friends, we emit a “feel good” hormone called oxytocin that helps us reduce everyday stress.

A study by Dove indicated that 70% of women feel prettier because of their relationships with female friends. This is critical to understanding how self-image develops in girls and women.

 Most importantly, Haupart states that, Women without strong social ties risk health issues equivalent to being overweight or a smoker – it’s that serious.”

Unfortunately, with our fast-paced digital society, women’s friendships are on the decline while stress levels in women are in the increase.  Try to reconnect with friends in your life.  Be open to new friendships. 

I have a friend from Italy and she makes green tea in a pot on a tray with china cups and puts out light flakey buttery cookies. It’s a welcome and refreshing approach to catching up with a friend.

So meet a friend for tea, to get your nails done, or see a movie.  I have learned that above all one thing is clear:  We Need Each Other.

This article is also published in the Wellness section of myCulturemagazine