By Rochelle Maruch Miller
Muffins-N-Moms has been generating buzz throughout the Five Towns. The brainchild of Leah Davidowitz and Chaya Guttman, Muffins-N-Moms is an interactive workshop in which parents will be educated on effective parenting strategies from both a professional and peer perspective.
In this interview with the 5TJT, the dynamic duo discuss some of the major challenges facing parents and children today, providing strategies and solutions and presenting an in-depth preview of their exciting and innovative parenting workshops.
Leah and Chaya are, first and foremost, young mommies of babies and school-age children. Accordingly, they identify and empathize with the day-to-day struggles and adventures that young parents face today. Professionally, both women are licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) who have worked together extensively in the past and have formed a strong working relationship and friendship.
RMM: Please tell us about your professional background.
Leah Davidowitz: I am a licensed clinical social worker currently working in private practice as well as in school-based settings where I counsel families, children, and adults. I received my master’s degree from Touro College and then went on to receive my clinical license. I became certified in treating eating disorders through LIJ eating-disorders program. I have worked at the Jewish Board clinic, where I facilitated support/educational groups for children of divorce. In addition, my specialties include play therapy, parenting, and eating disorders.
Chaya Guttman: I graduated from Fordham University’s School of Social Work, where I earned my degree. After completing my post-graduate training, and working as a psychotherapist in a variety of contexts, I earned my LCSW license to practice independently in the State of New York. I have extensive experience working with children, adults, and families, and currently have a private practice in Cedarhurst. I have facilitated several social-skills groups for children in both a clinic and private-practice settings. My specialties include working with children, parenting, loss and bereavement, social-skills training, anxiety, depression, ADHD, and adapting to life changes and stressors.
RMM: What motivated you to launch Muffins-N-Moms parenting workshop?
CG: As young parents and professionals in the field, we have noticed similarities in the struggles our clients, friends, and families face. Young parents today are faced with vast, and often conflicting, amounts of information with regard to the “right” way to parent their children. As a result, many parents are left feeling incompetent, overwhelmed, and confused. In short, there is no cookie-cutter approach to parenting. Our hope for our workshop is to instill in parents the self-confidence and ability to parent in a way that best suits them, their child, and all personalities involved.
RMM: What are some of the unique aspects of Muffins-N-Moms?
LD: Muffins-N-Moms is an interactive workshop in which parents will be educated on effective parenting strategies from both a professional and peer perspective. The workshop curriculum will be based upon its members’ specific needs. Members will thus benefit from both the guidance of professionals armed with the latest research, as well as the camaraderie of fellow moms who will be presenting their concerns and exchanging ideas. Moms will be encouraged to find confidence in an eclectic approach that best suits their family’s needs.
RMM: Who will derive the greatest benefit from Muffins-N-Moms?
CG: Most everyone can benefit from enrolling in this workshop. Muffins-N-Moms caters to all young moms of babies, toddlers, and school-age children journeying through the adventures of motherhood. We invite moms to learn to feel competent in their parenting, while eating muffins and sipping coffee with fellow moms.
RMM: What are some of the challenges facing parents today?
CG: Parents of the younger generation are pioneers in the realm of parenting within today’s modern and often dangerous world. Along with advances in technology come issues that moms have never dealt with in the past. In a recent edition of the Psychotherapy Networker, these issues are illustrated at length. We will acknowledge just two of these challenges in this forum:
With the overabundance of technology beckoning, moms often find themselves split between the attachment to their devices and the attachment to their children. We, as young moms, experience this struggle every day. The result is a “pseudo-connection” to our children that can serve to awaken feelings of guilt, shame, and incompetence.
Another struggle young parents of today face is the over-desire to shield our children from physical and emotional harm, often leading to “bubble-wrapping” our children and becoming “helicopter parents” in the process. While this comes from a good place, it is important to note that if children don’t ever experience risk, fear, and consequence, they will not gain the tools needed to become capable, successful, and independent adults ready to take on the world.
RMM: How will you help them meet these challenges?
CG and LD: Utilizing our extensive research and communication with professionals in the child-rearing field, our workshop will be having interactive discussions concerning the healthy role a parent can take on in both of the above challenges and more. Consequently, parents will be given the tools and support they need to foster change they feel is necessary. Our goal is to assist our members in creating a home environment best suited to foster their child’s growth in today’s society.
RMM: What challenges do our children face and how can we help them?
CG: Statistically, children today are facing a rise in issues such as anxiety, depression, obesity, ADHD, and bullying. With regard to bullying, according to the APA, “studies show normal children today report more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s.”
As children learn best by example, parents can assist their children in this regard by becoming healthy role models in areas such as effective communication, emotional regulation, and conflict resolution. Parents can also assist their children by learning and helping them implement effective coping techniques within their specific areas of struggle. In this way, children eventually learn to cope with stress in an independent and effective manner.
RMM: In our frenetic society, with nary a moment to spare, how can we find much-needed quality time to spend with our children?
CG: The answer to this question is much simpler than most parents think. Obviously, implementing “special time” with your children is a fantastic way to spend time together and foster a closer bond; however, most parents complain that this is not always feasible for them to implement. What they do not realize, though, is that special time can, and should, be an attempt to make everyday moments in our lives with our children “special.” For example, allowing your child to tag along with you on errands or help you prepare dinner can be a fabulous opportunity to spend time and converse in a non-hurried fashion. Another way to spend special time with your children can be to designate a quality bedtime, dinner, or Shabbat ritual. In short, special time is quality time.
RMM: Ladies, this has been a most enlightening and enjoyable Muffins-N-Moms experience. What message would you like to convey to our readers?
LD: Through the frenzied times of parenthood, most parents neglect to delight in the wonder of the everyday moments. This is understandable. However, if you stopped to ask an older parent what their biggest regret may be, many would say that they allowed themselves to get overwhelmed by the mundane tasks of mommy-hood and missed out on enjoying their young children. Our interactive Muffins-N-Moms workshop will demonstrate to you how you can savor the moment while parenting responsibly. And let’s not forget those muffins!
For more information or to schedule a free phone consultation, eâ€‘mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Rochelle Maruch Miller