I am a type A person. A product of the Women's Movement, I was brought up to believe I could do it all -- and, yeah, I've really tried. Sound familiar? The same driven perfectionism that I apply to my work makes me want to be the best mother I can be to my children. And from the outside, people tell me I'm a "superwoman" - running a growing company, raising two young boys (four and one) and still finding time to chat with my husband each day. We even have a family dog. But on the inside, I pretty much feel like a crazy person bouncing from thing to thing without a moment to spare - running from a staff meeting to a board meeting to a preschool parent-teacher meeting. And, oh yeah, my 15-month-old still doesn't sleep through the night so I'm usually doing it on about four hours sleep.
And my work is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to the type A mother inside me. Over the last three years, for a variety of reasons, I've wound up overseeing a lot of projects having to do with early childhood issues. Connecting with the brightest minds in this field, I've had the opportunity to learn about all the things that we now know are critical for kids, including the importance of early attachment. So beyond making sure my sons are dressed in the morning and fed, I'm also conscious of how my actions are affecting their early emotional growth. So thanks, work, for giving me a whole new set of things to worry about and less time to address them!
In the end though, I know I'm lucky. My job has given me the opportunity to come in contact with this important child development issue and spend time researching it. For most mothers working long hours, struggling to get by or overwhelmed with running a household, there's often not the time to spend hours trawling the internet for the most current and evidence-based theory on raising children.
That's why I'm so excited to be part of a new campaign to make this information available to all new parents and caregivers. Several years ago, I was approached by Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Productions to help realize an ambitious concept. This Emotional Life would be a three-part documentary series for PBS and a multi-platform public service effort to help deliver awareness, support and solutions around mental health issues and the blockades to people achieving happiness. Ever since, my company has worked to develop innovative ways to help make an impact.
Early childhood attachment isn't a term that most people are familiar with, but through our research we've realized that one of the best ways to improve the emotional wellness of adults is by helping to improve the social relationships they develop right after they're born. As infants, our connection to the world is through our parents and caregivers. When our parents respond to us in consistent, sensitive and loving ways, we form secure attachments with them, and this gives us the confidence to learn, grow and thrive.
Some say that healthy attachment is the single most preventative measure to enable long-term mental health and emotional wellness, and luckily, it doesn't take a team of research scientists camped out in your living room to make sure your child forms these important relationships. There are simple, even fun ways that parents can foster healthy attachments in their infant.
We've developed a special campaign specifically around the issue of early childhood attachment, complete with a "how-to" toolkit for new parents called Early Moments Matter. We're distributing the toolkit to families via hospitals and community centers all across the country -- and soon they'll be available to the general public as well!
When my hectic schedule gets me down, my idealism is what keeps me going. I believe that each of us has the ability to make the world a better place, and moms, there's nothing we can't accomplish if we band together around a common cause. We are superwomen after all. That's why I'm hoping other parents and caregivers will join with me to learn about attachment and encourage others to do the same. And I promise - we made the information as brief and engaging as possible because I know just how little time new parents have. The whole kit is even cute enough to make a perfect baby shower gift.
To make sure that the toolkits get into the hands of as many parents as possible, we're launching a new effort making kits available to anyone who can help us deepen our reach. For a small donation, we're sending toolkits to both the donor and an under served family. Whether you're a new parent or know one, we encourage you to participate in this public service effort - check out this amazing resource and, for just a $10 donation help deliver critical information about attachment to those who need it most. Turn to www.earlymomentsmatter.org for more information.
Are you a new or expecting parent, or do you know one? Get a copy of the Early Moments Matter toolkit at www.earlymomentsmatter.org and learn about an exciting public service effort to promote early childhood attachment. Help give our next generation the best chance at a life of emotional wellness.
This Mother's Day weekend, turn back to Huffington Post's Living Section for more perspectives and information on attachment from a wide range of experts. And if you're reading this blog in time, tune in to the Living Section on May 7th at 2pm EST for a special interactive webcast discussion about attachment with Dr. Catherine Birndorf, women's mental health expert and co-author of the best-selling book The Nine Rooms of Happiness, and Dr. Margaret Hertzig, child and adolescent psychiatrist.
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