Bethenny Frankel, Kelly Rutherford and Kathie Lee Gifford swing on hammocks to relieve parenting stress during Hayneedle.com’s Buy A Hammock, Help A Child event to benefit Childhelp held Wednesday in NYC.
Calming down is a big deal for Bethenny, who is a newlywed mom to daughter Bryn, two months. But when there’s no hammock to lull her into relaxation mode, how does she cope?
“I have help,” the reality star tells me. “I have my husband [Jason Hoppy], who is very helpful. And I think if you’re calm, they remain calm. They’re usually crying for a reason. They’re tired and they want burped, or they have a dirty diaper or they’re hungry. You’ve gotta be patient. It’s like anything else – this too shall pass. It can be a little frustrating, but the moment always passes and you have to take a deep breath.”
She has a special technique.
“I find that if I talk in a high, sweet voice to her, it calms me down,” she says. “I’ll be like [baby voice] ‘it’s OK, everything’s going to be fine, we’re all good.’ I’ll make it into a positive. Whenever she’s screaming like a maniac, I’ll be like ‘Everybody’s happy, we’re all happy’ like it’s our secret – it’s our secret that she’ll be happy, that she’ll smile.”
For Bethenny, who is estranged from her mother, parenthood will take on new meaning when she does it her way.
“I want Bryn to have what I didn’t have,” she says. “I want her to have a little more stability, more certainty. I want her to have more stability.”
Here comes Kelly, who is mom to Hermes, 3, and Helena, 1, whose father is ex-husband Daniel Giersch.
What advice would she give parents and children who are in abusive situations?
“It’s so hard because it’s hard on the parent that knows that it’s happening and yet can’t seem to stop it – whether it’s through the court system or any other means,” the Gossip Girl star tells me. “I think that to not deny it is the first step, and trying to figure out how you can heal with your child – what you can say to your child or children, and how you can help them heal – and yourself — from the experience. I think that’s the most important thing. It’s very challenging.”
She has a special message for kids.
“It’s important for the children to know that it’s not their fault. It’s usually the parents who have a lot on their plate most of the time and get very frustrated and take it out on the children. Or they themselves may have been abused. It’s a lot – looking at the psychology of it and trying to figure out how to prevent it. I think a lot of that is better infrastructure for parents – more help. And the hammocks. The hammocks are beautiful. It’s a great way to give back.”
Kathie Lee urges parents to swing on a hammock when they’re feeling stressed.
“The philosophy is slowing down because we live a way-too-fast-paced life,” the Today co-host says. “It’s taking a huge toll on us culturally. It’s taking a huge toll on families. The beauty about a hammock is that you start to relax. When you start to relax, you get less angry. When you’re less angry, you don’t use your fists in ways that cause pain in people’s lives. Stress is a huge problem, and no more so than during tough economic times. Four children a day die from child abuse or neglect. Every ten seconds, a child is abused. If we were losing people to anything else, we’d be outraged. These are the most vulnerable citizens. Children who have not done anything wrong. They have not asked for any of this. They’ve done nothing wrong but be born into very tough circumstances.”
She urges everyone to get involved.
“There’s a hammock for everybody no matter your size, you know what I’m saying?” she cracks. “There’s nothing better than putting your whole family on one reading a book, having some lemonade — maybe something a little stronger on days that have been more stressful.”
Hayneedle.com’s Buy A Hammock, Help A Child program benefits Childhelp, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of child abuse. A portion of the proceeds from every hammock sold will support this worthy cause. Why not buy a hammock? After all, today is National Hammock Day.