I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Shelly Radic, the chief of staff at MOPS International and the author of Momology. I hope you will enjoy this Q & A, and get a copy of Momology for yourself or a friend!
Can you share a little bit about the research that went into Momology?
The research being done on parenting and families is extensive. To shape the content and better understand what moms are most concerned about, we spent several months reviewing research done by agencies and organizations such as the YMCA, Search Institute and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as reviewing the thinking of multiple parenting experts, current university and government research as well as mom websites and blogs. About 1,800 moms of preschoolers also responded to surveys specifically for Momology. Momology is also based on what MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl.) has learned in over 35 years of working with moms.
How can moms shape a strong, resilient core?
One very important way is to develop relationships and a safe community to mother within. Service providers like her nurse practitioner, friends in her neighborhood or mom group and, if she’s married, with her husband. If she’s single, with a parenting partner. Moms who know they are valuable to someone who cares for and about them are more resilient.
Another way is to understand and appreciate her unique self. Moms are more resilient when they understand that they are uniquely shaped to match the needs of their children. Personality, past experiences, special interests- a mom can utilize all these to interact in healthy ways with her child. Understanding her strengths can provide a foundation for a mom to work through both daily challenges and the big stuff that every mom has to face at times. Learning to recognize and handle her emotions- and sometimes that includes getting help from others- also helps moms develop resilience. In the midst of mothering, it can be easy to choose not to invest in ourselves, but moms need to practice self-care and life-long learning in order to meet the demands of raising our constantly changing and growing children.
Finally, I believe when a mom truly understands how much God loves her, when she seeks to discover the plan God has for her life, she understands there is meaning to life that is bigger and greater than “me” and “now”. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services identifies understanding that life is more than “me” as a key factor in resilience. So does God!
What are some suggestions you have for developing a strong mother-child bond and building it over time?
Because of my experiences as a foster and adoptive mom, I’m passionate about this topic. In Momology, I mention that attachment happens when moms are:
Loving- offer an unconditional love that gives time, energy, and yourself to meet your child’s emotional and physical needs.
Touchable- Get physical! Snuggle, hug, kiss massage, stroke, grasp fingers, tickle toes, massage temples, rub cheeks, wear baby in a sling. Touch, touch, touch.
Available- During the early months, give as much undivided attention to your baby as possible. As your child grows older, continue to connect frequently in response to your child’s current needs. Attachment is a matter of quality and quantity.
Predictable- Be known as a loving presence that routinely dries wet bottoms and dispenses warm drinks in the night, the strong arms that regularly envelope and sway fussy dispositions, the laughing person who readily sings silly songs and blows raspberries to relieve boredom.
Responsive- Study your child. Get to know what his cries and expressions mean and how you can best respond. Be patient with yourself. This learning can be hit-or-miss, especially at first. I have yet to see a mom who gets it right every time. So, keep studying!
Intuitive- Listen to what your heart says and respond accordingly, whether or not it’s what everyone else is doing.
Lastly, what impact does the health of the parent’s marriage have upon children?
Research consensus is that not just any marriage, but a healthy marriage is optimal for a child’s well-being. While single mom’s can have good outcomes, too, the best thing a married mom can do to shape a healthy, resilient child is to nurture her marriage. Not convinced, according to research done by the Colorado Healthy Marriage Project, a child raised within a healthy marriage is more likely to-
- Experience greater overall success in school
- Have better reading abilities
- Attend college
- Get a high status job
- Avoid domestic violence and child abuse
- Experience better physical and mental health
- Live longer!
These are compelling reasons for moms to invest in a healthy marriage.
Thank you Shelly for sharing your heart and wisdom with us! And thanks to Baker Publishing for a review copy of Momology.
Filed under: Book Reviews | Tagged: book review, momology, MOPS, MOPS intl, mothering advice, review of momology, shelly radic | 2 Comments »