Mar 15, 2011
A Little Dose of Ima

One morning I saw Yoel fall, as if he was sliding into third base. He was on the far end of the playground, in the midst of about a hundred kids dashing and climbing and playing all around him.

Chana Jenny Weisberg - N'shei Chabad Newsletter

One morning I saw Yoel fall, as if he was sliding into third base. He was on the far end of the playground, in the midst of about a hundred kids dashing and climbing and playing all around him.

Yoel dug his elbows into the asphalt, rested his little reddening face into his pudgy hands and began to scream.

I stood up and waved to Yoel until I caught his eye. I motioned for him to get up with a nod and a smile. Yoel perked up right away, jumped up and began running again towards the slide.

That was all he needed. Just a little dose of Ima.

This past year, researchers at the University of Wisconsin asked 61 girls to give a speech or to do some difficult math problems in front of a panel of strangers. The girlsí stress levels skyrocketed. One third of the girls were then reunited with their mothers for 15 minutes of in-person hugs and comforting.

Another third of the girls received 15 minutes of comforting and calming by heir mothers over the phone. Then both groups watched an emotion-neutral ovie for an hour.

The third and final group got to watch the same movie for 75 minutes, but were allowed no contact in person or over the phone with their moms. In the two groups with mom contact, cortisol (a stress-producing hormone) levels plummeted and oxytocin (a stress-reducing hormone) levels began to soar as soon as those stressed-out girls heard their motherís voice.

And those poor girls left to suffer on their own in front of the DVD player, with no mom contact, maintained the same cortisol/stress levels as before. Even 75 minutes spent watching that movie did nothing to make them feel even a little bit better.

This research, released this past week, made me so happy. I have dedicated much of the past 12 years of my life to being a mom. But the sad truth is that I donít often see the impact my mothering has on my children.

What did I do today? I made spaghetti with tomato sauce for lunch. I took my three- and five-year-olds to buy some bread and milk from the corner store. I had a conversation with my 10-year-old after a particularly tough day in 4th grade.

But what did I accomplish?
Believe me. I donít really know.

I could even begin to think that what I do as a mom day after day and month after month and year after year isnít so important after all.

But this research reminds me of the importance of what Iíve done and what Iím doing, of the irreplaceable, incomparable power and healing of a motherís love in a childís heart.

Want to be a happier, healthier, and more inspired mother? Send your email address to jenny18@zahav.net.il to receive free weekly inspirational articles and videos about Jewish motherhood by Chana Jenny Weisberg. The interview you just read originally appeared in abridged form in one of Chana Jenny Weisbergís weekly emails.

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