For more cleaning tips visit www.maidsmd.com/
For more cleaning tips visit www.maidsmd.com/
Whether you're looking for a day care provider, a nanny or just a casual babysitter so you can have a date night, finding and vetting quality childcare can be really hard. Parents put a lot of trust in word of mouth, and online marketplaces like Care.com, but as the Wall Street Journal reports, sites which list childcare providers don't always vet them or run background checks. In the end, that's up to us parents.
In a statement to Motherly a Care.com spokesperson explains "we do not currently run preliminary screens on the care businesses listed on our site but have made the existing notice about that more prominent," and that Care.com is exploring solutions to verify the identities of users posting on the site. The company has recently changed its process for approving and managing individual caregiver profiles. As of this writing, newly enrolling caregivers are able to prepare applications to jobs and complete their profiles, but Care.com isn't releasing any applications or messages from new caregivers on the site until the new preliminary screening processes are complete.
Care.com recommends parents confirm the personal information of potential candidates found on Care.com,...
[Trigger warning: This essay describes one woman's emotional journey with pregnancy loss.]
I am not sure if I became a mother as soon as I saw those magical pink lines appear on the home pregnancy test, or once we had established the viability of pregnancy at my eight-week ultrasound. What I am sure of is that a few fleeting months after our little boy was conceived, he was lost to us, at least on this earth and in this lifetime.
We got a few months of wonder. A few short months. And in that time, for a moment, I was a mother.
My husband and I wanted a baby very much. We had waited two years after marriage to start trying to conceive, as we felt it was important for us to establish a family as a couple, prior to adding to our duo. So, after our two-year anniversary, we found ourselves eagerly wondering if and when our "big fat positive" would arrive.
Conception came quickly, two months after we began the process. We were excited and grateful. We reveled in all the wondrous milestones of a first pregnancy: the first time we saw our little walnut via ultrasound, the first flash of his heartbeat, the first reveal to our parents (of their first grandchild, on both sides), the first...
When women give birth in a hospital they usually have one or two support people by their side, but when Virginia's Casey Teller recently gave birth she had her whole family there. The mother of six chose to give birth at home, where her daughters could share the experience.
"Everyone was comfortable being in their own space. The girls could come in and go freely, they all wanted to be there," Teller tells Motherly.
Teller's five little girls—12-year-old Audrey, 10-year-old Ella, 7-year-old Lillian, 4-year-old Zolie and 2-year-old Zuri—were thrilled to be the welcome wagon for their new little sister, Talullah.
Talullah's birth was Teller's second home birth. Zuri was also born at home, but this was the first time Teller had a professional photographer with her to capture her birth. The experience was also a first for photographer Rebecca Burt. She usually does wedding and lifestyle shots, but jumped at the chance to capture Teller's midwife-assisted birth.
"I photographed like a fly on the wall. With birth, you can't control the story. You just have to let it...
All newborns spit up. The muscles that keep liquid in their little tummies aren't fully developed at birth, so it's totally normal to have a bit of a reversal of fortune at each feeding; and that shouldn't affect sleep. But when your happy spitter becomes an unhappy spitter and your sleep strategies aren't working, it may be time to explore the possibility that your little one is suffering from reflux.
There are two types of reflux. GER (gastroesophageal reflux) is the reflux you've probably heard your mama friends talk about. These are the happy spitter babies—the constant changing of outfits is the most annoying part of this and the best treatment is time. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), on the other hand, is a chronic condition that often needs intervention to prevent damage to babies' esophagi and mouths.
Aside from not gaining enough weight, being fussy after most feedings and having forceful spit-up episodes, babies with GERD have a lot of trouble sleeping. That's because the safest sleep position—lying on their back—can cause painful stomach acid to enter baby's throat and mouth. But since back is still best, even for GER and GERD babies, you'll need to find other...
California is on its way to being the best state to be pregnant in, and not just because it's easier to push a stroller across hot pavement than through midwestern snow drifts.
Earlier this year the state announced a plan for six months of paid family leave. Then legislation was introduced that could make day care more affordable thanks to a $25 million investment from the state. But these plans aren't the only proposed policies that could make California a great state to become a mom.
In a country with the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, The California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act (Senate Bill 464) seeks to make pregnancy and the postpartum period safer for women, especially for black moms, who are nearly four times as likely to die giving birth than white women are.
In California, black women make up 5% of the pregnant population, but 21% of the pregnancy-related deaths.
The bill proposes that all hospitals, birth centers or clinics providing perinatal care should "implement an implicit bias program, as specified, for all health care providers involved in perinatal care of patients within those facilities".
Basically, perinatal care...
Being a part of #TeamMotherly can make it feel like you have 1.5 million mama friends who get it, and can step in on the hard days and say, "You've got this, mama."
We're redefining motherhood with you, and we want to meet you and show you our new baby, Motherly's first book, This Is Motherhood.
A Motherly collection of reflections and practices, This Is Motherhood was written by #TeamMotherly mamas. These women shared their diverse and inspiring stories and are helping take our community offline, and put it on your coffee table.
On Thursday, March 14th at 7:00 pm Motherly co-founder and host of The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, Liz Tenety will be at Words Bookstore in Maplewood, New Jersey. Come meet Liz and other This Is Motherhood contributing authors and learn more about how motherhood transformed Liz's life and how this book reflects yours.
On Thursday, March 21st at 6:30 pm This is Motherly editor and contributing author Colleen Temple will be at Theory Wine Bar +...
As far back as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a mother. And then, as I grew older, I knew I liked writing—storytelling through my words―but I didn't know if I could do that for a living. So I went into marketing and got a "real" job and a few years after that, I went back to school to get my masters. Then, about two weeks after graduating, I found out I was pregnant.
I was going to be a mother.
Then, Motherly entered my life. And somehow, through a combination of Motherly cofounders Jill and Liz's belief in me paired with an engaging community of mothers who resonated with what I was sharing online—I found my voice. And just like that, my love of writing turned me into a writer.
I'm the MotherlyStories Editor at Motherly and I edited This Is Motherhood. When Jill and Liz asked me to write the initial book proposal, I kind of wondered if they were being serious.
Thoughts that went through my head:
I have never read nor written a book proposal ever in my life.
I am due with my third baby in three weeks and feel very, very (like, VERY) pregnant right now.
If this publishing house likes this, can I even do this? Can I put together a collection of essays? How does one do that?...
I remember the first day I dropped my baby boy off at daycare when he was just 12 weeks old. I was a puddle of tears when I left him, fumbling over where to store my pumped breastmilk, shaking as I handed over the diaper bag and barely able to see under my faded ball cap that hid my unwashed hair.
It felt like I was leaving a piece of my heart behind. I sobbed in the car. I went back midday to nurse.
As a working mom, and an entrepreneur I thought the transition to daycare would go smoothly. I had it all planned out. I would take an eight-week maternity leave before heading back to work full-time and even work on some projects during those newborn months. (Spoiler: That didn't happen.)
I wanted to quit everything and be with this tiny human. I had no idea what I was doing as a new mother, but I also wasn't ready to go back to work and leave my baby, so I even extended my maternity leave by another month.
But, little by little I started remembering why I founded my business in the first place. I remembered how wonderful my clients were and how satisfying it felt to use the intellectual part of my brain.
In a time where I felt so much confusion about being a new mother—Is...
I'm a single mom—well, sort of.
I'm a sort of single mom. It's complicated. I'm not really sure what to refer to myself as.
Getting divorced does that to you. It takes everything you know to be true—all of the million tiny decisions you've made to build a life and an identity—and it smashes them to bits. Seemingly trivial things like living room throw pillows and patterned dish towels aren't just the background noise of your daily minutiae anymore. Instead, they've become stakes in your personal battlefield; marked his or hers, they are either packed up or left behind.
I never thought I'd be getting divorced. It certainly wasn't the life I envisioned for myself when building my family. As I planned our wedding, bought and decorated our first home, and gave birth to our child, my identity became inextricably linked with these milestones.
Everything from the pattern of our wedding china to the curtains in my daughter's nursery felt like a reflection of our family and myself as a wife and mother.
Sure, there were times, particularly in those hazy postpartum days, that I struggled with my evolving sense of self. I was exhausted and managing new hormones, but I was a mother and no lack...
Many of us—myself included—begin the journey of motherhood with ' being the ultimate goal.
We want to do everything perfectly. We want to minimize (or if possible, entirely avoid) mistakes. Because of the love we have for our children, we want the very best for them. We feel immense pressure to be the creators, the facilitators, the providers of “the absolute best."
We also put an extra heaping of pressure on ourselves to be while accomplishing all of this.
We are quick to crown ourselves as having failed to be perfect when we do perfectly human things—like losing our patience, or feeling overwhelmed, or doing something that we swore we would never, ever, do when we became mothers.
It's hard to avoid the pressure to be a perfect parent. It comes at us from all angles—external sources and also from within. Decorate the 'perfect' nursery. Bake the 'perfect' healthy muffins. Throw the 'perfect' birthday party. Teach them the 'perfect' manners. Waitlist them at the 'perfect' preschool. Get back to the 'perfect' body weight within moments of giving birth to your 'perfect' baby, who, of course—if you're doing your job as a parent correctly—will never “misbehave"...
When I was pregnant for the first time, I took a seven-week birth class and was introduced to my first batch of soon-to-be-parents. About eight couples packed in to the living room of our birth teacher's Park Slope brownstone pounded crudité and flax crackers and shocking amounts of cheese, and listened to roughly three hours of baby talk.
Each week, my heartbeat would steady, hearing my classmates talk out all their birth and postpartum anxieties and, most comforting to me at the time, commiserate about what a surreal and uncomfortable surprise pregnancy turned out to be. It was basically group therapy and I loved it.
All but one of the friendships I made in that class have not endured the last three and a half years, but most of us still keep up with each other on Instagram or Facebook and I wouldn't trade the warmth and connectivity I felt to all those expectant parents at the time for anything.
I'm convinced that finding friends while you're on the rocky road toward parenthood is a balm for a tricky time, but I'm not sure I can explain exactly why. I just know it felt good. “Pregnancy is a point in time of dramatic change," says Neelu Shruti, owner of the West Village-based
I feel like I'm going to vomit. My friend who runs marathons told me, “When you feel like you're going to throw up, keep pushing for three or four more minutes. It will increase your stamina," so I've been running through that pukey feeling. I'm slower than most of the girls in my group, but I'm getting faster. See, I remember that pukey feeling from those 10, 12, 15 hours of labor. I got this.
For the first time in nine years I'm not pregnant or nursing a baby, but out with my friends. I stop at one glass of Malbec and, instead of staying out to dance, I head home. I get out of bed at five o'clock to work out.
“But why?" my friend asks. Here's my answer:
I don't do it because my 4-year-old said, "Your butt looks like it got poked all over." (Yeah, that's cellulite). She's also said, “You're the strongest, Mommy," and, “You look so beautiful, I love how you look," and, “Do the dance again, Mommy!" Not one of my kids care about a couple dimples on my booty, especially when we're shaking them.
I don't do it so my body is beach ready. My body is beach ready when I put on my bathing suit and sunblock.
When I was pregnant with my third, the doctor came in (with a cute intern) and pointed...
For the first 18 months to two years of your child's life, you've diligently fed your child by either breast, bottle or spoon with everything being eaten quite agreeably. Then, suddenly, your toddler begins to refuse food. Of course, you worry. "Why won't my child eat? Have I done something wrong?" As a mother of three and a certified Integrative Nutrition Coach and the founder of Yummy Spoonfuls, I'm well aware of the challenges of picky eating.
Understanding that we all are quite literally what we eat, my two-sided approach to overcoming this particular toddler issue will help you provide your little one with the proper nutrition they need to fully thrive.
If you have a picky toddler, you are not alone. The reasons for this sudden food aversion are both simple and complex:
Absence usually means a "lack of," however, absent parents are often more complicated than that. My oldest child is 5 years old and contact with his dad has waxed and waned dramatically, from seeing him daily to only every few weeks.
Most recently, the irregularity lacks pattern—at times it's been every few months, once there were three visits in as many months, other times, long stretches of no contact, anything from five to 18 months. In such cases "sporadic parent" is a more accurate term and unfortunately is a reality millions of children face.
Dealing with an absent or sporadic parent is impossibly hard. Whether the situation is stable or not, continued discussions are needed as your child's understanding changes. This type of loss requires time, love and support to process.
Almost five years into our reality, my son has experienced many reactions: the "clinging to mom" stage, the "endless crying" stage, the "relentless questions" stage and the "exacerbated with dad" stage. In time, no doubt, we will experience many more stages too.
I'm open about this behavior and I'm often met with the suggestion that stopping contact would be better. It would certainly be easier for me,...
For most of my life, living near family was never a priority. We moved around a lot when I was a kid so I grew up less sentimental about childhood homes and without a strong need to live near relatives. Instead, I followed my career across the country from my parents, and never really felt too much of a strain to keep in touch.
That all changed when I became pregnant the first time.
Suddenly, I felt an innate desire to talk to my mom almost every day. I wanted to share every detail of my pregnancy with someone who could not only relate, but also cared about each baby kick or hour of heartburn as much as I did.
When my daughter was born, the pull of the village grew even stronger. Because—true talk? Raising a baby is hard, but doing so without family support is even harder. I can't help but feel that my friends who have done it with grandparents nearby may have had a slightly easier go of things.
Raising a baby without grandparents nearby is hard because you have less help. The practicality of free babysitting aside, finding any kind of babysitting can be a challenge when you don't have family to lean on. Leaving my baby with a stranger rattles my nerves. And even close friends...
Even when partners want to divide parenting duties equally, breastfeeding can make it tricky. It's simply not possible for fathers to take on nursing duty—but what if it was?
At the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Dentsu (a tech firm from Japan) showcased its new breastfeeding system known as the Father's Nursing Assistant.
Carlos Lowry on Instagram: “#fathersnursingassistant #sxsw2019”
The wearable device lets dads feed baby as mom would, and promotes skin-to-skin contact between fathers and infants. One of the fake "breasts" holds the milk or formula and the other contains the nipple system, so baby can only nurse on one side. The device doesn't just feed the baby, it also tracks data about baby's nursing sessions and transmits the info to dad's smart phone.
According to Dentsu, the device was created with "advice from pediatricians and babysitters, who say that babies tend to touch the breast with their hands when feeding and that the softness seems to sooth them, the product has been shaped to resemble a woman's breasts."
It's not for sale yet, but it will be interesting to see if the...
As parents we just want to do what is best for our kids, and when it comes to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, parents who choose to give it to their children and those who don't are both making the choice they feel is the best one for their child.
And while it is true that, worldwide, measles cases have nearly doubled in a year, and that The World Health Organization says vaccine hesitancy is a threat to global health, it's also true that the conversation about vaccination in America can be divisive—and places way too much blame on parents who have the best intentions.
"We have to come from a place of empathy," says Rachel Alter, a a research assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia's Earth Institute. According to Alter, the vast majority of people who choose not to vaccinate "are really just trying to do what's best for their families and their kids," and have often made their decision based on false information that has been amplified by celebrities, internet communities and problematic algorithms.
The impact of discredited former doctor Andrew Wakefield's fraudulent 1998 research linking autism to vaccination is incredible. Though...
Some moms wear rings with their child's birthstone. Some moms sport nameplate necklaces with their baby's carefully chosen name. And some moms get inked in honor of their little ones.
Honest Company founder Jessica Alba showed off three new tattoos on Instagram this week, one for each of her three children, Honor, Haven and Hayes.
The tattoo design is based on her children's astrological signs and the corresponding constellations. Fans questioned whether the ink was real, but Alba made it clear in an Instagram live, telling her followers: "These are permanent and I won't regret these ones. These are my babies."
Jessica Alba on Instagram: “@_dr_woo_ #drwoo Honor Gemini ♊️ Haven Leo ♌️ Hayes Capricorn ♑️ #hideawayatsuitex”
Many Instagram commenters were less enthusiastic about Alba's new ink than she was, with many remarking that the tattoos do not appeal to them.
But that's okay, because they're not for anybody but Alba (and her kids). It's her arm, after all. Tattoos may not be for everyone, but they are for a lot of mamas.
Doctor Woo on...
Spring is one of the most fun times of the year to explore nature with your child. There are just so many fun changes, from baby animals, different birds migrating through, and all of the beautiful rainbows that come from spring showers.
Here are a few fun Montessori-inspired spring activities to try with your little one this year:
In many parts of the country, spring brings rain clouds in addition to warmer weather. Embrace the rainy days as well as the sunshine by exploring the weather.
1. Cloud gazing
Find some pictures of different types of clouds (or use a book) and then enjoy searching for them in the sky. Take it a step further and use cotton balls to create representations of the different kinds of clouds if your child is interested.
Spring is a wonderful time to talk about rainbows. Spend time searching for rainbows after rainstorms, and consider getting a prism to let your child explore rainbows even on sunny days. Have fun noticing the order of the colors and provide the correct colors of paint or crayons for your child to create a picture of what he sees.
3. Daily weather report
Use these fun letter board ornaments to allow your child to...
When Kylie Jenner introduced baby Stormi to the world, her unique name wasn't super surprising. After all, the second-generation of Kardasian-Jenner kids is includes kids called North, Reign and Saint. We all knew Kylie wasn't going to call this baby Emma or Liam.
But she recently revealed that she did almost give Stormi a very traditional name: Rose.
In an Instagram live this week Kylie explained how Stormi was very nearly given the 141st most common baby girl name in America. Had baby Stormi been called baby Rose, she would have been part of a growing trend. The name Rose has been steadily growing in popularity since 2010, according to the Social Security Administration.
Kylie shared the name Rose in her Instagram Live because she says she's now pretty sure she's never going to use it for a future daughter, so she's not worried about someone else grabbing it up. But there's another name that was between Stormi and Rose that she's keeping to herself.
"It was a very weird name," Kylie told her followers, noting that she actually preferred it to Stormi before her daughter was born. "But I love it. It just didn't work for her."
What did work was Stormi, obviously. Kylie, she...
When you're trying to get pregnant or think you might be, it's easy to spend a lot of money on pregnancy tests because you just really want to know. So should you go with pricier tests with the digital displays, or try to save by going with store brands or, if you're really thrifty, the ones that sell for a buck at the dollar store?
Is one really better than the other?
In a word, no. In the United States, pregnancy tests are regulated by the FDA, so tests sold by reputable retailers in America are legit. They all pretty much work the same way, even the super cheap ones.
So whether you're paying $24 for a box of stick-style tests or $4 for 4 cassette-style tests, your results are likely to be the same, but the way you get to that pink line is going to be a bit different. The lower end tests are potentially messier.
Gather on Instagram: “How many did you take to confirm? 🤰 . . . @shophappymango @mrspatels #pregnant #pregnancy #pregnantandperfect #bump #babybump #motherhood…”
When we think of pregnancy tests most of us think of the stick-style, mid-stream tests we see advertised on...
The field of Democratic candidates hoping to claim the oval office in 2020 got a little more crowded this week when Beto O'Rourke joined the race, and almost immediately sparked a conversation about gender equality in parenting and politics.
On Thursday morning at a coffee shop in Iowa, O'Rourke spoke to a crowd of citizens and reporters, and joked that his wife, Amy Hoover Sanders, is raising his kids, "sometimes with [his] help."
The statement was tweeted by Washington Post reporter Matt Viser and quickly attracted a lot of criticism online, because as we've said before, dads should be seen as partners—not just 'helpers'.
Beto tells a coffee shop crowd that he just talked with his wife, Amy. “She is raising, sometimes with my help," their three kids. Then says he's running for president for his kids, and theirs.
— Matt Viser (@mviser) March 14, 2019
The same morning as O'Rourke's described himself as just a "helper" in parenting, the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, put the voice of another political parent, Anne-Marie Slaughter, into the ears of moms across the country (and around the world). She spoke about how women's roles changed when we...
We've said it before here at Motherly, dads should be seen as partners—not just 'helpers.' But this week at a coffee shop in Iowa, O'Rourke spoke to a crowd of citizens and reporters, and joked that his wife, Amy Hoover Sanders, is raising his kids, "sometimes with [his] help."
The statement was tweeted by Washington Post reporter Matt Viser and quickly ignited a controversy online, with some parents offended and others feeling that the comment was a joke.
But experts say even if O'Rourke's comments were a joke, they highlight the extra burden that working mothers carry, and that men don't. And that's not funny in 2019.
"Comments like this might seem harmless or made in jest, or maybe even a form of praise for women's hard efforts at caring for kids. But these comments aren't harmless," sociologist Caitlyn Collins, author if the new book, Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving, tells Motherly.
"But I'd say that it's problematic for any men—especially those in positions of power—to reference 'babysitting' or 'helping' raise their kids rather than egalitarian parenting. This rhetoric suggests that childrearing is primarily women's...
The main YouTube app has a ton content that appeals to kids, but it's certainly not a platform for children, as the algorithm can serve up some pretty adult suggestions. That's why many parents prefer to use the YouTube Kids app, but in recent months news stories about inappropriate content on the YouTube Kids app have had some parents feeling let down by the video service.
You can do this in the initial app setup process (or later in the settings for your child's account). After you download the app, confirm you're an adult and the app will ask how old your child is, then it will then ask if you want search on or off.
Turning search off means your limiting your child to a set of channels verified by YouTube Kids.
(The app does warn that even with search turned off, "there is a chance your child may find something you don't want them to watch" and suggests that parents flag any such content they come across within the app.)
Many parents have turned search off in the above prompt but not checked out the account settings,...
Amy Schumer is looking forward to being a mom, not only because she can't wait to meet her baby but also because this pregnancy has been really rough, physically. Amy's suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness which has forced her to cancel shows and even be hospitalized.
So it's great to see Amy enjoying the lighter side of pregnancy in a new, naked photo shoot for the New York Times. Posing for photographer Heather Sten, Amy ran naked through a New Orleans park and made herself Spanish moss bra for a real Mother Nature look.
Heather Sten on Instagram: “@amyschumer in new orleans for @nytimes 🍑 thank you to my queen @jolieruben & to @ek_the_pj for shadowing/chasing me with an umbrella hehe.”
This mama-to-be totally does not care what others think about her naked, pregnant body. Years of show business have given her a tough skin and a healthy reaction to body shaming. "As someone who has been told a million times they are fat and ugly, it does not matter!" Schumer told the New York Times.
Speaking about her success and growing fame, Schumer explained that getting super...
Anne-Marie Slaughter is a renowned political scientist, the President and CEO of New America, and the first woman to ever work as the director of Policy Planning for the Department of State.
She is also a mother who changed the way we think about work and motherhood when she left the Department of State after two years to spend more time with her sons, and wrote the most read article in the history of The Atlantic, titled "Why Women Still Can't Have It All".
In her book, Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, and Family, Slaughter illuminates how the cultural shift that brought women into the workplace didn't shift the load we were already carrying, but added to it.
And on the latest episode of The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, Slaughter tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that the key to lessening the mental load of motherhood is doing less, and trusting our partners to do more.
According to Slaughter, while women in America "went from caregiving almost entirely to working and working for money and then still caregiving, men's roles have not changed."
She points out that while today's fathers definitely do more than previous generations, many are still held back by...
Motherhood is so much at once. It's loving looking into your child's wondering eyes, but sometimes also wishing that they could just shut them for a couple of hours. It's creating a safe, supportive home for your children while also trying to stretch a dollar that used to finance one or two lives to support three or four. It's passing out juice boxes with one hand while taking a work call with the other.
Motherhood is love in action, but it is also really, really hard. And in her new book, Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving, sociologist Caitlyn Collins suggests that for American mothers, it's more challenging than it should be.
According to Collins, it's harder to be a mom in America than in any other developed country, and "women's work-family conflict is a national crisis."
Collins came to this conclusion after studying the lives of American mothers and their counterparts in other nations and finding that America's lack of supportive public policy has created a society in which mothers who have no paid leave, no minimum standard for vacation and sick days, a high gender wage gap, a lack of affordable childcare and an unsustainable stress level....
Many of us become lost at the beginning of motherhood. After a while, we look in the mirror and wonder who is staring back at us. Who could that woman be with the spit-up on her shoulder and those tired eyes?
Trust me, I know. This happened to me with my two small children. When I had a toddler and a newborn, my life was so consumed with my children that I had forgotten that behind all of that reheated coffees was an actual individual. An individual who existed before birthing two beautiful babies.
While my children brought me immense joy, a joy I never could have dreamed, the daily monotony left me with little room to work on my own desires, my own dreams, even my own future.
So instead of training to run that first marathon or work toward that promotion, I was caught up in the midst of all of the daily tasks that consume us in motherhood…
We fold the tiny onesies.
We clean the bottles and pumps with those tiny brushes.
We change the poop explosions.
We puree baby food.
We watch one hundred and thirty-two episodes of Daniel Tiger.
We wear our babies while trying to cook a decent dinner at the stove.
And so on...
It's natural that over time, all of this monotony covers us up. Our own...
Several recent articles in scientific journals point to the wide range of significant effects that learning and listening to music has on the brain development of children and adolescents. Other studies reveal that when parents share musical experiences with children and teens, including listening and/or dancing to music, as well as singing songs together, it […]
The post Music Is an Important Ingredient for Child Development and Parent-Child Relationships appeared first on .
Do your children know you love them? I certainly hope my three children do. For starters, I want them to know today how blessed I feel to have them in my life, but I also don't want them to be in a counselor's office 20 years from now talking about how they never knew if their parents loved them.
As a counselor myself, I've certainly heard my share of those stories. Parents may have thought they were loving their children in a way that their kids felt it, but their children didn't necessarily grow up feeling loved.
You may have the same or different reasons, but I'm betting you're a lot like me—you want to be sure your children know just how much you love them.
My friend, mentor and co-author Dr. Gary Chapman is known worldwide for his five love languages concept. In fact, you've probably heard of his NY Times best-selling book by the same name. This concept has changed millions of relationships for the better because it equips people with an easily-understood, practically-applied way of expressing love in a way that your loved ones feel it best.
Postpartum depression and anxiety is a common thread in motherhood. In fact, one in seven mothers experience postpartum depression in their lives. So, mama, know this—you are not alone. And we are here to help support you.
Postpartum Support International (PSI) Helpline: 1-800-944-4773
PSI Text Helpline: 503-894-9453
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
*Please note: If you feel you are in any danger or need immediate assistance please call 9-1-1 or your medical provider.
Postpartum Support International (PSI)
Postpartum depression facts
PSI local support meetings
PSI online support meetings
Loss and grief in pregnancy and postpartum
Depression during pregnancy and postpartum
Anxiety during pregnancy and postpartum
Pregnancy or postpartum obsessive symptoms
Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder
Bipolar mood disorders
How to cope with postpartum 'baby blues'—from a clinical psychologist
We need to talk about postpartum rage—and why it happens
How to support your spouse through postpartum depression
1 in 5 women with postpartum mood...
[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]
One gloomy morning, our 2-year-old daughter looked outside her bedroom window frowning and said, "Oh no! It's raining! We can't go to the playground." Her devastation was heartbreaking.
It was downpouring.
You knew this meant a longer day for all of us. For you, it meant the commute to and from work would be miserably wet and crowded. For me, it meant I was bound to our small apartment with our overactive toddler and still unpredictable infant. For our daughter, it meant she would not get to go to her favorite place.
As you set up our daughter's breakfast and she wallowed in her utter disenchantment of the weather, you began to tell her about a man who loved to sing and dance in the rain, Gene Kelly. Her eyes perked up. She was intrigued.
You told her that there's a song called "Singin' in the Rain" and on rainy days like this one, we have to sing and dance just like Gene Kelly did. With YouTube's help, you found the scene from the movie Singin' in...
Editor's note: This essay describes a parent's expirience with and research into bed sharing. To learn more about the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep recommendations please visit the AAP.
Like many parents, we began co-sleeping by necessity. Most women find that they bring the baby into the bed to nurse, and keep falling asleep; it's easier and safer to plan for bed-sharing than for it to happen inadvertently. We were a little different, however.
Because of reflux and other health problems, my son had trouble gaining weight. A different pediatrician probably would have called it “failure to thrive." We wanted him to nurse often at night, and sleeping next to me seemed a good way to do that.
It worked. Sleep reserchers Mosko, Richard, and McKenna proved that arousals are greater between bed-sharing pairs, meaning that these co-sleeping mothers and babies half-wake more often than mothers and babies who sleep apart. My son and I used these arousals to latch him to the breast more often. As time went on, he learned to latch himself; this is common among bed-sharing pairs.
In fact, James McKenna of the Notre Dame Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory argues that frequent arousals...
I love getting rid of things. I'm overwhelmed by clutter, stuff gives me anxiety, and when I watch Tidying Up on Netflix, I just can't relate to people who claim that so many of their belongings give them true joy. My husband often finds me tossing unwanted items because I can't be bothered with the chore of re-selling—I'd much rather just get them out of my house. In general, I have very little attachment to material objects.
So why can't I part with my daughters' tiny newborn clothes?
When I recently cleared out too-tiny onesies and pants from my second daughter's drawers, I found myself clutching an armful of clothes as I stared down the trash bag and storage bin. For the first time, while decluttering, I paused.
Our second daughter is most likely our last. When she was born, I felt a sense of completeness I had heard other moms describe but didn't personally experience with our firstborn. Every day, I kiss my baby 's tiny nose and marvel at how perfect our family feels now. A family of four—a family with two children.
So why can't I let go of those itty-bitty newborn pants with the ruffles on the butt?
To be fair, I tossed the stained onesies. I ditched the out of style items. I...
In the autism community, there is a saying, "If you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism." Children with autism are uniquely wired. They each have gifts to share and individualized ways of seeing the world. With the CDC reporting that 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with ASD, chances are high that your child knows or is connected with someone who is uniquely wired.
As humans, we tend to gravitate toward people and situations that we know, understand and with whom we feel comfortable. When we encounter someone whose behaviors are unexpected or difficult to interpret, it can make us feel unsettled or anxious.
Our natural tendency may be to avoid that person or situation. But that default response doesn't help us grow as a person or expand our compassion, and it can lead to a person with differences being excluded and isolated. Many times, children on the autism spectrum will behave in ways that are unexpected or different.
Uniquely wired kids struggle with communicating their...
Yesterday I met a friend for coffee. It was one of those rare days when both of us had a window between school drop-off, errands, work and school pick-up, so we jumped on the opportunity. And then we spent the entire precious hour talking—no, scratch that—venting about our children and how hard this motherhood gig is.
Afterward, I walked away thinking I should have asked her where she got her shoes (which I'd subconsciously noticed upon arrival because they were lovely) or what she thought about what had been on the news that morning or where she and her husband had gone on their last date night. Or really anything that made me feel like we were actual grown-ups enjoying a coffee together, rather than exhausted, automated parenting machines close to burnout.
Truthfully, I left that coffee date feeling better than I had in ages. Refreshed. Relieved. Lighter and better able to parent for the rest of the day. I felt less like an automated parenting machine than I had in a very long time.
Because in that short precious hour, all of our walls came down, all pretensions of having our lives in order were left at the door and we were free. We gave each other unspoken permission...
You're in the home stretch. Dinner is done. Toys have been tidied. PJs are on. You have storybooks in hand, and there is just one more thing to do. "Time to brush your teeth," you tell your 5-year-old, who looks at you and yells, "NO!" then runs in the opposite direction.
You wonder why you are surprised since this happens most nights. You could pull them out from under the bed where you know they are hiding, and bring them kicking and screaming to the bathroom (reminding them how they need to brush their teeth to avoid cavities). You could give in and tell them their teeth have to be done tomorrow (and face the same argument all over again then.) You could offer a barter. An extra book and a song in return for compliance. However, you know they will string out negotiations and your frustration will hit new levels.
But bribes, rewards and forcing a child do not work long-term.
When children resist doing things that need to be done, our options can feel limited. And none of the above strategies prove useful for long. Forcing a child to do something feels harsh and diminishes trust. Giving in shows a child that when they go off-track, you cave in, and puts them in a position of too...
By Shelley Hopper.
I see you doing everything, literally everything , with all your heart and all your will.
Nursing all night or warming up bottles. Doing each diaper change, outfit swap, kitchen cleaning, toilet scrubbing, meal prepping and cooking, lunch box packing, dog walking and pooper-scooping (little humans and fury friends).
I see you doing every pre-school drop-off and pick-up, getting your little one to and from activities, play-dates, chaperoning field trips when you can or leading carpools to and from soccer/dance/football/karate/girl-scouts/boy-scouts.
I see you helping with homework after a long day at work when you're exhausted but still hands-on being your little one's number one tutor and fan.
I see you having to call out sick from work one too many times to stay home with a sick baby or toddler because it's just you at home. I see you trying to balance it all, and you are doing a freaking incredible, amazing job.
Because whether you've been a single mom from the start of your pregnancy, or you experienced the loss of your significant other, or went through a divorce or an intense custody battle, or got walked out on, left to fend for yourself and...
As parents we put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to meal planning, but sometimes the plan for a homecooked, organic meal just doesn't happen.
And that's totally okay. If you're thinking you're going to have to do hot dogs or breakfast-for-dinner tonight, don't worry and don't feel guilty. Your kids will probably love a cheap and easy meal. Joanna Gaines' kids sure did.
The mogul and mama of five recently opened up to Jenna Bush Hager for Southern Living magazine and explained that when her dinner plans fell through and she had to go with a super simple plan B, 13-year- old Drake, 12-year-old Ella, 9-year-old Duke and 8-year-old Emmie Kay totally loved it.
"Two weeks ago, I came home exhausted," she said. "I'd forgotten about meal planning and had five bags of 30-cent ramen, which I made for dinner."
According to Jo, the kids were "in hog heaven" while chowing down on the cuisine commonly associated with broke college students. The novelty made it so fun and special, and mom's guilt was unnecessary.
(Yes, Jo wrote a cookbook, but that doesn't mean mama's gotta cook every single night.)
"While I was beating myself up for giving them my second best, they loved it....
Do you miss Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us? If there's been a Geoffrey the Giraffe sized hole in your shopping experience since Toys 'R' Us closed last year, you may be in luck.
A bunch of former Toys "R" Us executives have formed a new company and are trying to get the retailer back into the American marketplace.
Toys "R" Us closed stores in the US, the UK and Australia last year, but Toys "R" Us branded stores remain open in parts of Europe, Asia and Canada.
Richard Barry was the former global chief merchandising officer at Toys "R" Us. Now he's the CEO of a new company, Tru Kids Brands, which took over the rights to the Toys "R" Us brand last fall. "We have significant interest about how to bring the brand back to the US," Barry told CNN Business this week, though he won't say exactly what that looks like.
Barry says he's working around the clock, considering options with "a whole series of different companies, some are existing retailers, some tech companies," to figure out how to best appeal to and serve American parents.
Figuring out a retail re-birth that doesn't involve brick-and-mortar stores could be good for the Toys "R" Us brand. According to Pew, there are more than...
Valentine's Day doesn't have to just be for your partner—in fact, you probably have multiple loves in your life. From sweet kiddos to your best gal pal to yourself (because self-care matters!), we rounded up the best last-minute gifts you can get from Amazon (that are *way* better than chocolate or flowers).
To protect those inevitable spills and messes—in style.
Help to explain what love really means with this adorable book.
Perfect to love on and snuggle with.
For swaddling your littlest loves. They also make beautiful Instagram backdrops!
Decorate your child's nursery.
Love cooking? Share your passion with your child, too.
Just as cute as it is practical. Bye bye, spills.
The two hats make...
Sometimes I look at you while you're looking at me, wishing for what I have, and I find myself dreaming of what life would be like if I had what you had.
Because this is stressful. Honestly, the challenges of raising two small children are very, very real.
I didn't necessarily choose my partner. I got pregnant by accident when I was 20 and then again on purpose at 25.
It's not always as sunny as it looks, I assure you. My eyes have rained tears because I couldn't get my baby to stop crying or because I couldn't go into public without my 2-year-old throwing a tantrum and I felt trapped. Or sometimes I didn't even know why, but I just cried.
When you tell me about your exciting life, I get jealous. You don't have kids yet. You have more freedom.
When you tell me about your dating life (the one I don't have—not even with my husband right now—because if we have a babysitter, we are usually too tired to even leave our house), I get jealous.
When you tell me about the stress in your life, like not being able to find a good roommate or how you're so tired from going out the night before, I get jealous. (I mean, last night I was up all night too—but not for the same reasons.)
Your life is...
Valentine's Day has turned into a completely different holiday since my husband and I had kids. We used to celebrate by going out to a nice dinner where we would get dressed up and laugh over a bottle of red wine.
Sometimes I would get surprise flowers at work. And it was always a day I really looked forward to.
But times have changed and the way we celebrate has changed, too. Now that we have a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old, a fancy dinner out just isn't as easy to arrange anymore. Plus babysitters are expensive and scarce on Valentine's Day.
1. We want them to write us love notes and leave them somewhere unexpected.
2. We want them to tell us that we look beautiful even if we haven't showered in two days and are covered in spit-up.
3. We want them to say thank you.
4. We want them to do a load of laundry.
5. We want them to get up with the kids, so we can sleep in.
6. We want them to let us shower without interruption.
7. We want them to change the diapers and dress the kids and pack the diaper bags.
8. We want them to text us something sweet in the middle of the day.
Valentine's Day is often focused on showing love to everyone around us—our friends, family, partners and children. While that's important, the holiday is also the perfect excuse to treat ourselves to some love and self-care. And, we're not just talking face masks and bath bombs (but those work, too, and we even included some below!).
So take some time to step away from work, cleaning, cooking, and all of the mental load on your to-do list. Nurture your body. Tend to your health—both mental and physical. Set big goals to achieve. Do something you really love to do. Because you deserve it.
1. Write out 10 things you love about yourself.
2. Schedule a night out with your best friends.
3. Create a space or corner in your home just for you and fill it with your favorite things.
4. Take yourself on a date and use that time to check in with how you're really feeling, away from the chaos.
5. Put on your favorite outfit just because.
6. Pencil in quiet time in your calendar each week or day—even five minutes. No exceptions.
7. Meditate on what makes you happy in this season.
8. Set boundaries for yourself this year.
9. Read that book you keep putting...
Valentine's Day, now celebrated not only at home and at school but also at every extracurricular a kid is involved in, has gotten big. Where a foldable Valentine from CVS may have cut it when you were a kid (BIG bonus if there was an off-brand tootsie roll taped inside) there now seem to be a whole set of things we "have" to do.
Sure, it feels good to make our kids feel good and it can be fun to make the holidays special but, if all your hard work's not bringing you some major joy, it's probably time to cut it out.
In order to be a good parent this Valentine's Day you don't have to buy your baby a “my first valentines" onesie. Your daughter doesn't need ruffle bottom pants. Your son is not required to wear a “little heartbreaker" shirt. No one needs a bow or a bow tie or anything in any specific shade or red or white or pink. Sibling sets (even twins!) don't need to match or coordinate or even look half decent standing next to one another.
On February 14th, in order to be a good...
Valentine's Day is this week, and instead of anticipating a day of surprises and delight, we may find ourselves too tired or busy to make room for the celebration of our love that every media outlet says we should enjoy. Up to our eyeballs in kids, toys, tasks and poop, we might look at our partner and wonder just how we got here, those days of giddy longing seemingly eons behind us.
It may be hard to believe now, but those days are not gone forever.
Through the journey of love, we can reignite passion and desire along the way with a little understanding, focus and effort—and we can remain as madly in love as empty nesters as we were in the days before we became parents.
Love is nature's amazing way of keeping us interested in our partner long after the baby is made. According to Dr. Richard Schwartz, a Harvard Medical School associate professor of psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., “There's good reason to suspect that romantic love is kept alive by something basic to our biological nature."
Love involves a very complex and integrated dance between stimuli and its effects on our body and brain. There's a veritable soup of chemicals and...
Valentine's Day has a reputation for being oh-so-romantic, but love is so much bigger than that. And as a mama, whether you're single, married, or somewhere in between, you deserve to take a day to really nurture yourself.
When was the last time you really went somewhere for a few days? Probably pre-baby days. Explore online to find a destination that makes the most sense for you. Maybe it's a staycation at a local hotel on your own. Perhaps it's a girls getaway to somewhere warm. There are so many options and you're sure to come back refreshed, relaxed and feeling more like yourself than ever.
The Bouqs Company on Instagram: “Elevating moods and tugging at our heartstrings 😍 Our Farmer’s Choice Bouq is a selection of blooms selected by the ones who know flowers…”
You don't need a partner to have fresh flowers in your home. Many are running sales for Valentine's Day and...
February is a month of love, and for Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen, this February has been an extra special one, as his new son Benjamin was born via surrogate 10 days before Valentine's Day.
This will be Cohen's first Valentine's Day as a dad and he's never had so much love in his life as he does right now. Cohen appeared on the TODAY show this week via video chat and opened up about his overwhelming love for Benjamin. "I just sit and stare at him. I can't get over his head of hair. He's adorable, he's so cute," Cohen says.
It's a feeling many new parents can relate to, and so is the way Cohen describes meeting Benjamin as he was born.
"I was in the delivery room. They cleaned him up a little bit, I took my shirt off, and they put him right there, and he was so alert. He wasn't crying. His eyes were open, and we just stared at each other for about two hours, just looking at each other, and he was touching my face….it was just incredible, and I was hoping he was going to have a little hair on his head, and the kid's already over-delivering."
Talking about his decision to become a single parent, Cohen told TODAY: "It's not that easy for a single guy to do this on his...
I'm just going to lay it out there: My son was born on Nov. 12. My daughter was due on Nov. 11 (but decided to come early). My own birthday is Nov. 14—exactly nine months after Valentine's Day. Clearly people in my family are more into the holiday than I've let on. 😉
It seems we're not the only ones.
According to 2015 data from England's National Health Service, some 16,263 babies were conceived during the week of Valentine's Day. That's up a full 6% from the average during other weeks. In fact, the only time the spike is higher is during the week of Christmas. (Which explains why September is the most popular birth month.)
Valentine's Day is on a Thursday this year but surveys name Friday, Saturday and Sunday as the most popular days of the week for baby making, so there is still time to participate in this short-lived baby boom before it ends.
According to the NHS figures, the conception rates hit a year-long low just two weeks after Valentine's Day.
Until then, soak up this time with your sweetie.
“Love is most definitely in the air at this time of year," Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chair of the Maternity Transformation Programme at NHS England, tells the Telegraph. “It is fantastic to...
Haven't we all left a copy of The Five Love Languages on our partner's side of the bed at some point? (Or maybe that's just me.) According to the book's author, Gary Chapman, the five love languages are:
While you might hope to come home to flowers after an argument, your partner might prefer you volunteer to do the dishes to show you care. According to Chapman, the key to a healthy relationship is for each person to express love in their partner's preferred love language, instead of their own.
Chapman says this concept applies to children, too. According to child therapist Megan Cronin Larson, a child's primary love language typically emerges around age three or four. While you can respond to cues from your child to figure out what his or her love language is, in The 5 Love Languages of Children, Chapman encourages parents to use all five love languages with their children, in order to lay a healthy foundation for future relationships.
Research shows that touch is vital to healthy neurodevelopment in infants. But the need for touch—whether a hug or a fist bump—doesn't end with infancy....
I stand leaning over the side of your crib, my forearms resting on the hard plastic frame. I've come to know this position well—this slightly bent at the waist, spine curved, head half-down—position. My body readily takes this form throughout the day, nursing you, bathing you, playing with you.
Someday, standing upright will feel natural again. When you've grown so big you no longer require my body as a vessel to feed you, entertain you and move you from one place to the next. When you're so tall that I no longer need to crouch to meet your gaze. When I long for the days you were little.
I just laid you down on your back and watched you stubbornly flip, wriggling into your favorite sleep position. You let out a long, squeaky sigh—the sound I've come to learn is the sign that you're down for the count. Only new parents know this bittersweet feeling of freedom and somberness.
I could finally straighten my back if I wanted. I could go stretch out and relax. Read a chapter of my book. Drink that glass of wine that sounded so good an hour ago when you were screaming in the bathtub and I couldn't figure out why. You're sound asleep now and you don't need me—but I think I need you....
We all have days where we feel like we've lost a parenting battle, but hopefully we have more days that could be described as parenting wins—the days when we feel like we've cracked the code and figured out how to stop a tantrum before it begins, or actually get a picky kid to try a new food.
Hillary Frank knows all about parenting wins and loses. The creator of The Longest Shortest Time podcast, Frank changed the conversation about motherhood in America but she doesn't call herself a parenting expert. The author and journalist says she's just a mom working to have some parenting wins, and during the third episode of The Motherly Podcast, Frank tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety that over the last eight years she's learned that the key to parenting wins is creativity, and embracing one's weird side.
Frank welcomed her daughter in 2010, and if you're a listener of The Longest Shortest Time, you probably know she had a pretty traumatic birth and fourth-trimester experience.
It wasn't easy, and when her daughter was 4 months old she moved to a new town. She was trying to connect with fellow mothers and have authentic conversations about the hard and surprising parts of new...
Of all the inane children's board games I've been forced to play with my 3 and 6-year-old sons, the worst, as far as I'm concerned, is Chutes and Ladders.
Here's why I don't like Chutes and Ladders: it requires absolutely no thought or skill. (The same is true of Candy Land, but at least with that game, I can fantasize about eating my way down a candy cane lane strewn with gumdrops). In Chutes and Ladders, you are completely and totally at the whim of the spinner.
If you're lucky enough to spin a number that gets you to a ladder, you get to move way up the board towards the finish. If, however, your spin lands on a number that gets you to a chute, you tumble back down the board again, towards the start. Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down, until one of the players manages to climb to the top of the board, reaching the finish and claiming victory.
When I last played this game with my younger son it occurred to me: Chutes and Ladders is a lot like parenting.
As a parent, you're constantly navigating ups and downs, wins and losses. And as in Chutes and Ladders, many of these wins and losses often seem to come at random and without warning.
Ladder: My kid wins...
“Don’t get divorced. It gets easier.”
A stranger in an elevator said this to me once, as I loaded in my big red double stroller. She peered over to see my newborn son and 16-month-old daughter, and I briefly smiled as we made eye contact.
She said it sweetly, “My children are older than yours, but I’ve been where you are. Don’t get divorced. It gets easier. Good luck.” Then, the doors opened, she left, and I let her message absorb into my skin, into my brain, and into my heart. The advice was abrupt and not accurate. Divorcing my husband had never crossed my mind, but somehow, it was just what I needed to hear, and maybe it’ll help you, too.
Having a second child threw our family balance farther out of whack than we anticipated. We had a false sense of confidence, believing we knew what we were doing because we’d done it once before. But bringing a newborn home when there was already a young toddler in the house created an entirely different dynamic than adding a baby where there previously had been none.
On the first night we were home with both kids, we stood in the hallway, looking at each other with wide eyes, each holding a screaming child. I asked, “What have we done,” and...