An interview with MIT spouses Anne Thielke and Lynette Yen, who lead MIT’s Toddler Group.
Image by Emmanuel Vincent, during Nora Vrublevska’s IAP Photography at Night Class.
Anne: “Being part of this ever-evolving group has been such a highlight to our being in Boston!”
How did you meet?
Anne: Lynette and I met through the MIT Moms-to-be group. One of our mutual friends organized the group at that time and the first time I met Lynette she had just given birth to her son, and I was heavily pregnant. After I had my son the group changed to the MIT New Moms group and a lot of us ended up joining that group.
What are your experiences with MIT spouses&partners?
Lynette: Even before I came to Boston, I found the MIT s&p New Mom’s Group and resolved to join as soon as I could. It was the best thing I ever did! Being 6 months pregnant in a foreign land, I quickly made friends in similar situations and we all became a primary source of support for each other. This group was immensely valuable to me, because two years on, these friends are still the closest friends I have here in Boston.
Anne: MIT s&p has definitely helped us through this process. They have given us a great network and we know they are always available if questions should arise. One thing that MIT s&p is really good at is reaching out and encouraging people to get involved.
What have been the joys of parenting in the US?
Anne: Raising our son in the US has been, and still is, a great experience. We have had a lot of support on this journey and met so many interesting people along the way. The MIT Mom’s group and Toddler group has given me friends for life, and going to the meetings is the highlight of my week.
How did you start the Toddler group?
Anne: The idea of a Toddler group came when our boys got older. We were already a part of the New Mom’s group but we didn’t see ourselves as new moms anymore. Our children needed other activities and we thought it was a good idea to have a group dedicated to parents and their toddlers.
What are the challenges of parenting in the US?
Lynette: Firstly, it has to be the lack of familial support. MIT has, however, really provided a sense of community for us. Parenting away from your country of origin also removes you and your family from the cultural norms you were used to. Some people may find this uneasy, especially when raising a child; but I embrace this change. I've enjoyed being exposed to different parenting ideals since I've been in the US - both from US society and my peers from around the world. I feel I am able to approach parenting with a richer understanding and a more open mind.
Being away from family members has given our new family a very independent start, which I'm confident will equip us well for the future. With technology these days, it is easy enough to connect often with family, and they don't seem as far away as they really are.