"Don't take up a man's time talking about the smartness of you children; he wants to talk to you about the smartness of his children."

What's your child’s love language?



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.

But it's not just for your partners. It's also what you and I are looking for as parents—we want to make sure we're speaking our

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Postpartum depression and anxiety are more common than you may think—here are the resources you need



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.

PHONE NUMBERS

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.

WEBSITES

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

Postpartum psychosis

EXPERT ARTICLES

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...

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Dear husband: Thank you for respecting my decision to be a SAHM



[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.]

Dear husband,

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...

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One mama's scientific case for co-sleeping



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...

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Motherhood is: Wondering why I can't part with my daughter's tiny newborn clothes



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...

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5 ways to help our kids be more compassionate and understanding to children with autism



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.

So how can we help our kids become more compassionate and understanding of those children with autism who are uniquely wired? Here are five tips.

1. Use your powers of observation.

Uniquely wired kids struggle with communicating their...

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Moms all need *that* friend—the one we tell our secrets to



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.

But…

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...

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7 positive parenting strategies to try when your child says, 'no'



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...

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I see you, single mama—and I know how hard you're working



By Shelley Hopper.

Dear Single Mama,

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...

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Joanna Gaines shares how to move past mom guilt and give yourself some grace



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....

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Toys 'R' Us is planning a major comeback for the US



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...

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30+ last-minute Valentine's Day gifts on Amazon for mama, kids + other loves ?



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).

Here are our favorites:

For kids

1. Bapronbaby


To protect those inevitable spills and messes—in style.

Buy on Amazon, $22.95

2. Llama Llama I Love You


Help to explain what love really means with this adorable book.


Buy on Amazon, $4.33

3.Elegant Baby Knitted Lambie


Perfect to love on and snuggle with.

Buy on Amazon, $28.93

4. aden + anais Swaddle Set


For swaddling your littlest loves. They also make beautiful Instagram backdrops!

Buy on Amazon, $34.95

5. Lorena Canals Wall Décor


Decorate your child's nursery.

Buy on Amazon, $51.63

6. 15 Pc Kids Cooking + Baking Set


Love cooking? Share your passion with your child, too.

Buy on Amazon, $13.99

7. CamelBak eddy Kids Water Bottle


Just as cute as it is practical. Bye bye, spills.

Buy on Amazon, $13.00

8. Younger Tree Valentine's Day Outfit


The two hats make...

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I wish I was going through motherhood at the same time as my best friend



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...

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What moms *really* want for Valentine’s Day



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.

Besides, you know what we really want for Valentine's Day? We want to be shown that we are appreciated by our partners.

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.

9....

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51 easy ideas for self-care this Valentine's Day, mama



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.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

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...

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5 tasks you *don't* have to do to be a good parent this Valentine's Day



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.

This Valentine's Day feel free to skip obsessing about what you “should" do and keep it simple by crossing these chores off the list.

1. You don't have to buy your kid a Valentine's Day outfit

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...

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The scientific journey from attraction to attachment and lasting love



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 what keeps us together

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...

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Treat yourself on Valentine’s Day, mama ❤️



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.

Not sure where to start? Here are eight ways to show yourself some love this month, mama.

1. Book a momcation (or girls trip)

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.

Explore on Tripadvisor
Book a Hotel

2. Buy yourself your favorite flowers


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...

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Andy Cohen on meeting his newborn son ?



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...

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It's science: Valentine's Day prompts a November baby boom



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...

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27 ways to show your kids you love them on Valentine's Day (or any day)



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:

  • Physical affection
  • Acts of service
  • Words of praise
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts

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.

Physical affection

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....

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Motherhood is: Looking at my baby and thinking, 'You're perfect'



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....

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Hillary Frank on how to embrace your unique parenting style—and find your mom wins



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...

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Turns out, there are some things we *can* control as parents



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...

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Baby #2 has thrown us into survival mode—but I know this feeling won't last forever



“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...

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15 mamas share their child's nap schedule ?



While there's no one "right" way to parent, it can be reassuring to see how other mamas handle routines and transitions. Maybe you revolve your entire life around your baby's nap schedule. Or, you're trying to figure out how to drop that second nap for your toddler.

We asked #TeamMotherly to share their child's nap schedules and we received more than 1,000 responses. Here are some of them:

1. An 18-month-old with two naps

"My son is 18 months old. He wakes any where from 7-8 AM. He takes his first nap around 10-11 AM. He sleeps for one to two hours. He then takes another nap around 3 PM and will sleep for an hour and a half. He then goes to bed around 6:45-7:30 PM and sleeps through the night until the next morning."—Sara D.

2. Adult sons need naps, too

"Sons ages 28, 21, 18 they nap at every opportunity."—Jackie B. 😂

3. No more daytime naps for these four kids

"I have four children. As soon as they all turned one, they cut out their daytime nap. I currently have a 7-month-old that has never had a daytime nap, 10 mins max is all he will sleep during the day 🙄."—Naomi V.

4. A 20-month-old with one nap

"My son is 20 months old. Gets up between 7:30-8 AM, sometimes earlier. He's been...

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Dr. Ruth has some advice for new parents



Valentine's Day is here, but new parents may not be looking for romance as much as they're looking for a nap. It is so tough to balance the demands of parenthood with the desire for physical connection with our partners, but renowned sex expert Dr. Ruth Westheimer has advice for new moms.

The 90-year-old sex therapist and subject of an upcoming Hulu documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, spoke with Motherly about how new parents can make room for sex in a busy season of life.

1. It doesn't have to be intercourse

If you're in a heterosexual relationship, consider other forms of sex that don't involve penile penetration. "What I suggest to new moms is it doesn't have to be intercourse. Just pleasure each other. Give him an orgasm and then let him give you an orgasm," Dr. Ruth tells Motherly.

"In order to speed it up a little, because I understand that people are tired and that the child demands a lot of attention, ask him just to give you an orgasm either manually or orally. It does not have to be intercourse."

Dr. Ruth suggests that postpartum couples can move toward intercourse when both are comfortable with it, but if there's any pain or dryness, she suggests talking to a doctor (and making...

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6 ways to help your child get through a tantrum, according to a clinical psychologist



Tantrums are one of those unavoidable parts of parenthood and when you're in it, you're really in it. Your toddler has gone boneless and is sprawled crying across the floor. What can you do?

Here are six things to try:

1. Be present and listen.

My number one recommended strategy is to be present. In some ways, this sounds deceptively simple. If you walked into a room and saw a father using this strategy with his child, you'd see a child having a tantrum—yelling, crying, maybe kicking the floor—and a parent just sitting there with them. How hard could that be? Very, it turns out. Pay attention to what is happening and listen to what your child is trying to say.

2. Be empathetic.

In Western culture, we very rarely sit still and just listen to anything. Our instinctive parental urge is to make the tantrum stop. We go through different strategies one by one, just waiting for something, anything, to "work."

And if nothing "works" to calm our child down, we do the next best thing for our own comfort: We check out a bit. We walk away, take out our phone or start to do something else. All we want at that moment is for the crying, the yelling and the kicking to stop; if that doesn't...

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Jessica Simpson hilariously shares her latest pregnancy problem



Our bodies change so much during pregnancy. Between the weight gain, the waddle and things getting all swollen, you can end up feeling like your body just doesn't fit anymore.

That's been true for Jessica Simpson during her third pregnancy. The mogul mama had problems with her swollen feet, and now she's having a problem with her toilet. "Warning...Don't lean back on the toilet when pregnant," Simpson captioned a pic of her broken seat.

Jessica Simpson on Instagram: “Warning...Don’t lean back on the toilet when pregnant 🤦🏼‍♀️”

Simpson has a great sense of humor about this whole breaking-the-toilet episode, but it's pretty clear this pregnancy has been hard on her.

She's been wearing slippers almost exclusively, judging by her last few Instagram pics, and can't even sleep in her bed at night. "Severe pregnancy acid reflux has led to the purchase of my very own sleep recliner," she captioned a pic of herself lounging in the chair.

Jessica Simpson on Instagram: “Severe pregnancy acid reflux has led to the purchase of my very own sleep recliner...

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Counterfeit car seats are being sold online: What parents need to know



We live in a world where anything we want can be ordered online, and if that item is too expensive cheaper, knock-off versions of all kinds of everyday products are just a scroll away.

A counterfeit purse or a cheaply made pair of shoes probably isn't going to hurt the end user, but a fake car seat absolutely could, and unfortunately, they're ending up in the back seats of parents' cars.

After KTVB-TV in Idaho reported car seat technicians with St. Luke's Children's Hospital had come across two families in possession of brand-new car seats that were missing vital safety features (including five-point harness chest clips), Motherly began looking into where such car seats are coming from and why American consumers would be buying them.

Our investigation revealed that both generic knock-offs and more sophisticated counterfeit versions of specific high-end car seats are sold by third-parties through popular and trusted online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.com.

The good news? If you know what you're looking for these fakes are easy to spot and avoid, and when we alerted Amazon and Walmart.com to the existence of these unsafe car seats, both companies acted quickly to remove the...

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How to Create Quality Time with Your Family As a Busy Mom or Dad

Spending quality time with your child has more to do with ordinary daily life than what you might initially expect. It’s simple and meaningful interactions, such as bedtime stories and family dinners, that are essential for your child’s development and future relationships. As a parent, you’re preparing your kids for academic success and rewarding careers. […]

The post How to Create Quality Time with Your Family As a Busy Mom or Dad appeared first on .

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Recent Research Says 95% of US Kids and Teens Are Overdoing Screen-Time: A Family Approach May Be The Solution

A new study states that only 5% of teens in the USA are following recommended guidelines for screen time, sleep and physical activity. The study points out that failure to meet these guidelines is a risk factor for health problems such as obesity, mental health problems including depression, and engaging in at-risk behavior such as […]

The post Recent Research Says 95% of US Kids and Teens Are Overdoing Screen-Time: A Family Approach May Be The Solution appeared first on .

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My daughter, there's so much more to you than being 'pretty'



“Mommy, am I pretty?" asked my mousy-haired, keen-eyed and kind-hearted 5-year-old. She was shoving her over-sized glasses up the bridge of her tiny nose when she caught a glimpse of herself in the bathroom mirror, the one that I've always thought she was too short to see.

Her question: “Mommy, am I pretty?" immobilized me. It hung in the air on a busy school morning, amidst a flurry of lunch-packing and shoe-tying. The weight of her question hit my heart like Thor's Hammer, shattering ribs and going straight for the kill.

None


"Mommy, am I pretty?"

"Little Bug, you are so much more than pretty. You're kind. You're clever. Your heart shines like gold in the sun, and your smile warms up the world."

"But am I pretty?" She has this look. In it I see a reflection of myself when I'm frustrated. It's the same look that I'm certain my own mother saw regularly. It disarms me.

"Why are you asking?"

"Because I have to be pretty."

None


The world stopped. The world's barbs suddenly started to chip away at the stronghold I thought I'd created. This very stronghold was designed to guard her from the expectations that a girl's value was in what she wore and the way she smiled.

"Mommy, please. Tell me...

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Kids' energy levels surpass endurance athletes', says science



I've run an ultra marathon and still nothing compares to the exhaustion I feel at the end of a day spent keeping up with my two kids. Now science explains why: Children's fitness levels are on par with well-trained adult endurance athletes.


According to a 2018 study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the metabolic and fatigue profiles of 8 to 12 year old boys were far superior to those of untrained adults when tested with rigorous physical activity. They could also rebound quicker due to efficient heart-rate recovery and the ability to remove blood lactate. In fact, not even national-level endurance athletes were as good at recovering.

That should provide some comfort to wiped-out parents, the researchers say. "We found the children used more of their aerobic metabolism and were therefore less tired during the high-intensity physical activities," says the study's co-author Sébastien Ratel, Associate Professor in Exercise Physiology at the Université Clermont Auvergne in France. "This may explain why children seem to have the ability to play and play and play, long after adults have become tired."

For the study, the researchers tested the boys, untrained adults and...

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Head's up, mama: Walmart has free grocery delivery through Feb 1 ?



Grocery shopping is one of those mundane tasks you know you *have* to do, but never really want to do. But, when you're feeding a family, it can feel like you're running by the store every other day to grab the essentials. Or, finding yet another way to keep the kids entertained while you zip through the aisles.

Enter: grocery delivery—a parent's new best friend. 🛒

Whether you're a loyal online grocery shopper or you've waited to try it out, from now through February 1, Walmart is offering free delivery for every grocery delivery order. Your cart must meet the minimum of $50 (which is all too easy when you're shopping for the entire house)—simply use the code HOMEFREE at checkout for a waived delivery fee, which usually costs $7.95-$9.95.


Walmart on Instagram: “You want to eat better in 2019, but cooking isn't always on the table. We got you. Our Great Value Whole30 frozen meals let you have your…”


If you're new to grocery delivery, here's how it works: You shop on the grocery section online or via their mobile app and enter your zip code at checkout. This is also where you will select the time you'd like...

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These viral photos of a dad and stepdad are co-parenting #goals



When we think about divorce and coparenting our minds don't always paint happy pictures. Some of us draw on our childhood memories, formed in an era when joint custody arrangements were often tense and confusing for kids. For those without personal experience, the mind's eye may replay the acrimonious custody hand-overs we've seen on reality TV.

But this week, a new, beautiful picture of co-parenting (and masculinity) is taking root in America's cultural consciousness.

Photographer and mama Sarah Mengon captured a series of now viral photos of her daughter Willow and her two dads, David Lewis and Dylan Lenox, taken moments before David and Willow headed into her Daddy-Daughter dance. Dressed in her princess best, 5-year-old Willow is framed by two men who have put away old-school ideas about how to be a man in order to be great co-parents.

Some would label these two as Willow's biological father and step-father, respectively, but the two guys tell Motherly they don't really like labels like co-parent or step-parent. They're just Willow's parents.

This is the story behind those beautiful viral photos you're seeing everywhere.

The first time David Lewis met the man who would...

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'Lazy parenting,' anyone? ??‍♀️



Have you ever heard of "lazy parenting," mama? It's all about giving your children different ways to boost their belief in themselves, which in turn boosts their confidence, independence and responsibility. It can be hugely beneficial for kids—and parents, too. Here's what happened when one mom tried it.

XO,
#TeamMotherly

PS: Watch out, "Baby Shark" is coming to Netflix. Plus, these dads are co-parenting #goals.

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Nebraska state senator makes history breastfeeding on Legislature floor ?



More and more moms are entering America's political arenas, and as they do, history is being made.

The state of Nebraska saw its own historical moment this week when state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh, who represents Omaha's Sixth District, brought her 6-month-old baby onto the legislature floor so that he could breastfeed.

"[M]y staff let me know that I am the first Nebraska State Senator to nurse on the floor in Nebraska History," Cavanaugh wrote in a Facebook caption of a pic snapped during the historic moment.

According to the mom of three, her youngest, baby Barrett, had to join her at work when inclement weather threw her schedule (and Barrett's) out of whack.

"I didn't put a lot of thought into it," Cavanaugh told the Omaha World-Herald. "He's my third, so it's kind of on autopilot at this point. Normally when I'm nursing, I'm usually multitasking. I wanted to hear the floor debate that was happening, so I just sat down at my desk because that was more comfortable than standing off to the side."

She continued: "Barrett won't take formula—I say he's a gentleman of discerning taste—and I don't have an oversupply of milk, so he had to come with me."

Research proves that "the more...

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Get ready mama, Baby Shark's heading for Netflix!



The tune is inescapable and so is the pop culture influence. Baby Shark is so much more than a YouTube video. It's a Billboard charted hit song, a line of toys, and soon it will be a Netflix show, too.

The Korean company behind the viral video, SmartStudy Co.'s Pinkfong, plans to release a series of videos (cartoons and a musical) via Netflix this year, Bloomberg reports.


Baby Shark Dance | Sing and Dance! | Animal Songs | PINKFONG Songs for Children youtu.be

The geniuses behind Baby Shark are also planning to branch out to other areas of the animal kingdom. Seungkyu Lee, the chief financial officer at SmartStudy, told Bloomberg the company would love to get our kids singing about penguins, too. "I really liked 'Madagascar,'" Lee said.

It sounds like Lee's team is cooking up some screen-based content that's going to be irresistible to kids, and that may worry parents who are trying to cut down on screen time.

But experts suggest parents don't need to worry about sticking to a certain time limit as much as we should take a holistic approach, considering our child's developmental age, our family's activities and sleep...

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14 tips for positive parenting out in the real world



Parenting is always a challenge, but parenting in public, or under the critical gaze of extended family, can be some of the hardest moments.

Not only do we have to be extra creative to help our child cope in a way that doesn't infringe on the rights of others. We have to do it in front of an audience! An audience that we suspect is judging us as bad parents. It doesn't matter whether it's grandparents thinking we spoil just a bit too much, or supermarket cashiers thinking we might be a little mean. If we were good parents, our child wouldn't be acting up to begin with. Right?

Actually, wrong. Even well-adjusted, wonderful children of parents we would all admire have their moments. I still remember the doozy of a tantrum my son had in the car when he was three, when we were driving with my dad and stepmom. I think they were actually surprised that my son turned out to be such a great kid.

My insight from that experience? My son was in the right. I would have done things differently if we were alone. But because they were there, I compromised my own instincts, and didn't listen to my son. Sure, the grandparents thought they should outrank a toddler. But looking back 23 years, I see...

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Why 'lazy parenting' is actually a recipe for happy families



There has been a growing buzz lately about what some are calling "lazy parenting." It's being touted as the antidote to helicopter parenting, and, while its name may suggest otherwise, it's actually anything but lazy.

So what's the deal with lazy parenting? How do I do it and what will it do for my kids?

When I first heard of lazy parenting, I thought someone had been spying on my house on Fridays from 5:30pm until bedtime.

You know, the time when my husband and I have no energy left for parenting, so we have dinner picnics—cold cuts, apple slices, cheese sticks and crackers while sitting on a blanket on the family room floor—and then the kids play by themselves while I stare at the ceiling thinking about how many loads of laundry are waiting for me this weekend.

In those moments, I feel like I'm simply there as a somewhat engaged supervisor, making sure no one gets hurt, and nothing catches fire. It certainly doesn't feel like "good" parenting, and I often felt guilty that I wasn't doing more. I was a parent, and I was being lazy—that's lazy parenting, right? Not entirely, it turns out.

In actuality, the outcome of my Friday night laziness was similar to the outcome of lazy...

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This mom’s viral story is a great reminder that moms can legally breastfeed ANYWHERE



Sometimes people get hungry when they're out and about, and since babies need to eat more often than most of us, they definitely get hungry away from home. Parents can't—and shouldn't—be forced to find a private spot for a breastfeeding break every time baby needs to nurse.

Breastfeeding is normal, it's natural and our right to do it in public is protected.

That's what Jennifer Mancuso, the Instagramming mama at the centre of a now-viral story of breastfeeding suppression wants fellow mothers to know.

"There's nothing gray about it. The law very clearly, in black and white, protects mothers," Mancuso tells Motherly.

Jennifer Mancuso on Instagram: “It finally happened to me in real life. And it happened at one of the places I feel most safe with my children: our daycare. . Because of…”

Back in August, Mancuso was asked to stop nursing her twins in open areas at their day care, and to instead breastfeed only a small back room meant for employees. This week the Daily Mail picked up the story, igniting international interest in the months-old incident that happened in an Ohio childcare center.

Mancuso is...

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7 ways to maintain friendships with child-free friends, according to a therapist



Motherhood is lonely and seeking connection with those who are going through a similar experience is an antidote. We feel less alone and more supported when we find members of our own mom group.

But what happens to the people who were there for us before baby? What about those friends that knew you long before diapers and breast pumps? How can we continue to nourish relationships with people who don't relate to the sometimes all-consuming experience of motherhood?

But, I feel most connected to my pre-mom self when I'm with my non-mom friends. These friends have seen me at my weirdest and weren't embarrassed to be around me, supported me when I wasn't sure where my life was going, and made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe.

I may have a mom team, but these women are my soul sisters. Sometimes it's work to keep in contact and I never seem them as much as I would like to, but I know every time we get together that I feel truly myself.

Here are some ways to keep your old friendships going after you become a mom:

1. Don't make assumptions

It's easy to go there and think, “They probably think I'm not fun anymore," or, “They probably don't even want to hang with me anymore." This can make...

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Let’s make a baby: My 10-step plan to get pregnant



Becoming a mother is one of the most transformational experiences of your life. It can also feel like one of the most overwhelming, but making a baby doesn't have to be so complicated.

We've got your 10-step guide to take you from baby dreams to baby reality. 🍼Here's how to get there.

1. Start the baby talk

The decision to get pregnant often starts as a conversation between two partners who decide they're just wild in love enough to become parents.

How do you know you're ready to become parents? Here are the 10 questions to ask your partner before you make a baby.

You'll also want to...

Have a lot of sex

No, really. New research shows that getting in a lot of sex before conception can prime the immune system for a healthy pregnancy. (Yes, please!) Go ahead, get your practice!

Make sure he's healthy

Dad's fertility matters too, so he'll want to make sure he's as healthy as can be. Read more on how your partner can boost his fertility.

Be in it together

There's also a lot of evidence to show that partners who enter parenthood intentionally have better outcomes for their relationship and for their child.

2. Take a prenatal vitamin and eat a nutritionally-dense diet


Start...

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Where to splurge—and save—on your big kid’s bedroom



No matter what your budget for your big kid's bedroom, figuring out where to save and where to splurge can be a challenge. Should you invest in a bed or character sheets they may later grow out of? It isn't always easy to figure out, but these tips will get you moving on your big kid's bedroom and have them loving their new space.

Where to save

In general, there are two key areas where you can easily get away with purchasing at lower price points. They are items that your child does not come in direct contact with on a regular basis and items representing your child's latest favorite shows or characters.

This means décor pieces are a good place to start saving. Often wall art, throw pillows and even small rugs are inspired by your child's favorite interest as of that day. But what about tomorrow, when Curious George is out on his cute little keester and Transformers takes over every inch of your house?

While I believe it is important to collaborate with your child when designing their bedroom, it's also important to strategically incorporate their love of characters or shows because it could cost you down the road if they want to change everything.

Go ahead and get them a few...

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Saying 'breast is best' oversimplifies a complicated issue for mothers



It's on the walls of OB-GYN offices and maternity wards, and on the lips of friends, family and sometimes even strangers in the formula aisle. At times it's all a new mama can hear, even when she's sitting in silence with her thoughts.

When it comes to infant feeding, there is no phrase mothers hear more often than "breast is best" but new research, experts and moms who've lived a different truth say that while this message is amplified with the best intentions, new mamas need a lot more than those three words.

A recently published study, "The best of intentions: Prenatal breastfeeding intentions and infant health," suggests that there is a high societal cost to simplifying the cultural conversation around infant feeding into a three-word slogan.

The study found that moms who intended to exclusively breastfeed but ended up using formula had children with health outcomes similar to exclusively breastfed infants. They also, in many cases, have a lot of undue guilt.

A mom's perspective


When Nicole Rivet-Barton welcomed her first child nearly four years ago she fully intended to breastfeed, but it was a struggle from the start.

"My expectation for myself was that my body would...

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Whole Foods baby spinach recall: What parents need to know



There's another big food recall for parents to be aware of, but don't worry, no one is sick it is just a precaution.

Whole Foods is recalling several prepared items containing baby spinach because of potential Salmonella contamination.

This includes salads, pizza, sandwiches and wraps sold at stores in Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

According to the CDC, Salmonella causes about 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 450 deaths in the United States yearly. Most people recover without treatment from an episode of diarrhea, fever and cramps that lasts about a week, but some people do need to be hospitalized and of course, small children are among those most at risk, with kids under five having higher rates of Salmonella infection than any other age group.

In addition to the prepared meals, the baby spinach from the salad bars and hot bars at Whole Foods stores in the above states was also impacted, so if you've got salad bar items with spinach, toss them.

For all the other items, check your recent prepared item purchases against this list. There's a lot of different salads, wraps, sandwiches and pizzas...

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Two-thirds of moms in breastfeeding discrimination cases end up losing their jobs



In recent years lawmakers across America have been implementing policies meant to protect working mothers who breastfeed or pump at work. State by state, labor and building codes are changing to help pumping mothers get out of bathrooms, and at the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers basic accommodations and break times for working, nursing moms.

But not every working mother in America is covered by the FLSA's Break Time for Nursing Mothers law and even some who should be protected by the FLSA find their working environment is not complying with the law.

What happens to mothers who point out that they're being discriminated against? Unfortunately, most of the time, they lose money fighting for their rights and in two-thirds of cases they ultimately lose their jobs.

This according to a new report by the Pregnancy Accommodation Working Group, an initiative of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, which tracked the outcomes of breastfeeding discrimination legal cases filed by workers over the last decade.

"Breastfeeding discrimination is widespread and can have devastating consequences for women and their...

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Having 2 kids under 2 was completely different from what I expected



My son was 10 months old when I got pregnant with my daughter. We were thrilled! We had always wanted a small age gap between kids.

I guess part of that was driven by me. I have five siblings and the closest to me is five years older than me. I was seven when my oldest sister moved out, promptly followed by my other three siblings. I always joked about having three moms and four dads. So I always knew I wanted a closer relationship for my children—more of a sibling relationship than a parental vibe.

I knew the guilt of dethroning my son as the only child was going to hit me at some point, but I decided I was going to make the most of the time we had with only him. To soak him up. We worked so hard on our bond over the next few months.

Robyn was born a few days after Max turned 18 months. And that's when the reality of it all hit me. Don't get me wrong, we knew it was going to be hard, but wow. The jealousy and the guilt were even harder than I thought they would be.

It was one of the toughest periods of my life. All my son wanted was me and, of course, my newborn wanted me—and my boobs—constantly. He just didn't understand and how could he? He was just a baby himself and we...

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Single mamas are raising awesome kids—and research confirms it



Families come in all different shapes and sizes, and every single one deserves to be celebrated. But that unequivocal truth hasn't stopped some people from believing kids need two parents in order to thrive. We all know that's not true—shout out to all those amazing single parents!—and now research confirms children raised in single-mother-by-choice households excel just as much as their peers.

In July 2017, researchers from the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Belgium released a study that shows children raised by women who choose to be single mothers (women, for example, who became pregnant using a sperm donor), are as well off as kids in opposite-sex, two-parent households.

Here's what the study found:

There were no significant differences in emotional involvement or parental stress between family types. Single-mothers-by-choice showed significantly higher scores on the social support they received, but also on wanting more social support. There were no significant differences in the children's internal and external problem behavior (well-being) between both family types.

In other words: All of the kids are alright.

Of course, there's a lot of research...

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The single parent's anthem



I'm the one who explained why you left, the one who dealt with their anger, their frustration and tears.

I have defended you because it's better than telling them to give up on you.

And because it hurts less than hating you.

I have paid for all their flights to see you, and even some of yours, so you saw them at all.

I reminded you to call them on their birthdays, to text them during their bad weeks, and then pretended I didn't.

But I am the one who has been there, since day one and every day in between.

I'm the full-time mother, the part-time father, their financial advisers, their #1 fans, their Lyft service, their advocates, their therapists, and their life teachers.

I planned all their birthday parties and checked off their Christmas lists.

I reemed them when they missed classes, praised them when they got As, and consoled them when they didn't get the grades they thought they deserved.

Then I helped them look at colleges, filled out their financial aid, and edit their college applications.

I signed their car notes, reviewed their leases, scheduled all their appointments, taught them how to budget and even cook themselves dinner.

I have had the hard conversations with them, the ones...

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation cuts their parental leave program in half



In some countries parents know that no matter where they work, or what part of the country they're living in, they're going to have access to a standard length of paid parental leave. In places like Sweden or Canada, this means most babies will be at home with a parent for at least a year.

That's obviously not so in America, where, in the absence of a federal paid leave policy, the state you live in and the organization you work for are major factors in how long you're going to stay home with your baby. Without a standard, it's become important for employers to get serious about extending paid parental leave—it's good for recruitment, retention and PR.

That's why it's so shocking to hear that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which famously extended its parental leave policy from 16 weeks to 52 weeks back in 2015, is now cutting the length of its paid parental leave by half.

In a LinkedIn post published Friday, Chief Human Resources Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Steven Rice, explains that the new program "will comprise six months of paid leave and, upon a parent's return to work, a $20,000 taxable stipend to help with child care costs and other family...

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The partial government shutdown created a diaper crisis for many families



For many American families, diapers and wipes represent a substantial chunk of their monthly grocery budget. That's why a lot of mamas are obsessed with finding the best possible deals on diapers.

But when the paycheck that pays for those diapers doesn't come—and then doesn't come again—even the best sale price may be out of reach. Federal workers who've missed two paychecks due to the partial government shutdown should be getting paid soon, but when your baby needs diapers now, getting paid tomorrow or Friday doesn't help.

Enter: diaper banks. According to a new report from the Washington Post, America's diaper banks have been working overtime to help federal workers who have gone without pay during the shutdown.

According to the Post, "diaper banks are treating the shutdown as they would a natural disaster," and while the shutdown is now over (at least until February 15), the diaper disaster it created for many families isn't.

As Motherly previously reported, the shutdown had parents who depend on federal pay worried about diapers from the jump. On the first missed payday a mom who was worried about how she was going to pay for her mortgage or buy food for...

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I captured the emotions of men while watching women give birth—and it was powerful



[Editor's note: This story is of a photographer capturing women and their husbands. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

For every soul we create, there is a soul that we felt a connection with first.

The one who helped us create life.

The one who watches on helplessly while the woman he loves, moans and howls through labor stages.

While we have always put each other first, mother nature drifts in to place him in the backseat while he watches them transform into one other. All without needing his assistance.

At every single birth I have attended, the men are in the background, even if they are up close with their women.

They are actually stronger than they realize.

Carrying the irony in their faces of being able to fix everything yet somehow not able to "fix" our pain and discomfort.

It's not even the fact that we need to be saved but that they're essentially powerless to rescue in a way that they are used to being able to do.

Their empathy skyrockets in a manner that most of them have never experienced, yet they stay silent.

They do not make the situation about...

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Measles outbreak: 6 things every parent must know + do



Every parent wants their child to be in the best health they can be, so headlines about infectious diseases can understandably make moms and dads a little nervous.

In recent days there has been a lot of news coverage about measles, a disease declared eliminated from America in 2000. It's true that there is an outbreak of measles in the Pacific Northwest right now, but there's a lot to unpack behind the headlines and parents shouldn't panic.

Here are six things you need to know:

1. There are outbreaks, but not a national one


There is no national outbreak of measles in the United States right now, but there are outbreaks on both the east and west coasts. New York state's been dealing with an outbreak (167 recorded cases since September ), and there is also an outbreak in Clark County, Washington, near the Oregon border.

In Clark County, public health officials have "identified 35 confirmed cases and 11 suspect cases"of measles since January 1, and 25 of the sick people are kids under 10. According to officials, 31 of the sick people were confirmed as unvaccinated. The vaccination history of the other four individuals hasn't been verified.

Additionally, one case was also confirmed...

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Kate Hudson explains what 'genderless' parenting means to her family



We all want our parenting choices to be understood and respected, but sometimes people misunderstand. It happens to moms around the world every day, and this week it happened to Kate Hudson on a worldwide stage.

The athlesiure mogul, actress and mama of three gave an interview to AOL in which she was asked if her approach to raising daughter Rani Rose was different than how she's been raising her two older boys, 7-year-old Bingham and 15-year-old Ryder.

Hudson's reply was misunderstood and spawned many headlines stating that she's raising Rani as genderless. But that's not what she said. Her response was more nuanced and she wants the internet to know it.

Here's what she actually told AOL when asked if having a baby girl made her change her approach to parenting:

"It doesn't really change my approach, but there's definitely a difference. I think you just raise your kids individually regardless - like a genderless [approach]. We still don't know what she's going to identify as. I will say that, right now, she is incredibly feminine in her energy, her sounds and her way. It's very different from the boys, and it's really fun to actually want to buy kids' clothes. With the boys it...

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True life: I wouldn't be half the mother I am without coffee ?



My dear sweet one,

I think about you before I get out of bed every morning.


I imagine us together, and it's the only thing that drags my tired body downstairs.

I trudge to our special spot—my automatic coffee maker—and press your button.

I wait for you to arrive.

I. Can. Not. Wait.

You make a bunch of funny noises on your way to our meeting but it's okay—I don't judge.

Truth be told, I'd put up with a lot of things for you. And how could I not? You are my one true love.

So I wait. . .

And then yesss, finally. IT IS OUR TIME.

I mix you with a little creamer.

I pour you into my favorite, ginormous coffee cup.

I finally get that first, precious taste on my lips and YESSSSS. You are so worth the wait.

You. Complete. Me.

Sip.

I get the energy to stop the 6 a.m. skirmish that is already breaking out between my sons in the playroom.

Sip.

I think I have the strength to change my daughter's diaper.

BIG SIP.

I think these rascals are ready for breakfast. I think I might be able to pour some cereal into a bowl.

Sip.

Please know that when I leave you on the counter half-finished, that is just a symbol of my undying commitment to you. I'm not “leaving you behind" just because I am rushing to get my kids out of...

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10 phrases to say to your kids to inspire confidence



Moms are the hearts and souls of families. They do a million things and more. They are real superheroes.


My mom did so much for me growing up and still does. But more powerful than any one single thing she did is the internal voice she sewed deep inside of me. It continues to replay in my mind every single day.

It began as her voice but has become my own, and it is my super power. She planted confidence within me and helped me build a strong sense of self, all with her amazing words.

This is what she said:

1 | "You are beautiful"

She said this mostly when I did something kind, made good decisions, or showed independence and strength of character. She also said this when I was sweaty, dirty, messy, and working hard. She taught me that true beauty lies inside and in my positive actions, not my appearance.

2 | "You will be a great mom"

I remember hearing this throughout my life. It wasn't like she was priming me to have children, but she saw something in me then that I draw on now every single day of my adult life. I have felt run down, exhausted, worried, and unsure of what to do at times, but I have never doubted myself as a good mom.

3 | "I am so sorry you feel that way"

My mom always...

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Fresh fruit recalled in 18 states: What parents need to know



If you've got peaches, plums or nectarines in your kitchen right now you should check them against this recall.

These fruits sold at ALDI, Costco, Fairway Market, Hannaford, Market Basket and Walmart are being recalled due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes, which the FDA notes can "cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children."

Don't panic though, the FDA reports "no illnesses have been reported in connection with this problem to date." This is a proactive recall, which is actually good news for parents who are concerned about food safety. The problem was found before anyone got sick.

"The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the packing house which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. The company has ceased the distribution of the product as the FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem," the FDA notes on its website.

The fruit was sold in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia...

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It's harder than ever before for families to get by on a single income



Despite the rising rates of women in the workforce throughout the past century, many millennials grew up in a time where it still seemed like a mother's choice to work or stay at home. But as we start families of our own, the reality can be harsh: It feels nearly impossible to make ends meet on a single income.

So where does that leave women who want to be stay-at-home mothers? In a difficult position, says Erin Odom, a mother of four in North Carolina, who left her job shortly after her first child was born. "We pinched our pennies, I say, until they bled," Odom says of trying to get by on her husband's salary from teaching. The Odoms eventually sought help from a financial advisor, who looked through their income and expenses. "At the end of the day he said, 'Look, you guys don't have a spending problem. But you do have an income problem. You don't have enough money to live.'"

They aren't alone: The fact is the rising cost of living in the United States continues to outpace inflation—which makes it difficult for young adults to build their bank accounts, let alone nest eggs for the future.

And more people are starting out in the hole: According to a 2014 report from...

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