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Gone are the days when your mere look of disapproval was enough to derail your toddler’s plans for world domination. Nope. Now she’s three and going for broke.


Peaceful parenting is less about strict do’s and don’ts and more about a set of principles that help us connect with our kids—even when they’ve hidden our car keys and can’t be bribed.

Here are seven ways peaceful parenting might work when your child is in that stage—you know the one—somewhere between three and eternity.


1. How to peacefully deal with teaching them to clean up after themselves

Your child may not be successful in doing this independently for quite some time, mama, so don’t set your expectations too high.

Model what you want them to do and point out next steps. When you show, instead of tell, the brain processes it in a different way. Kids can follow your example and do it again another time. (And keep in mind, there is always the option to reevaluate what possessions your kids have. Maybe it’s time to donate some toys and clothes?)

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2. How to peacefully deal with little (or big!) messes throughout the day

Consider this when you find a new portrait from your little artist on your kitchen wall: This is normal behavior, not akin to vandalism. Say something like, “I know you love to draw but this isn’t a good place to draw. Where else do you think you can draw instead?”

Help them think of a solution. If they are given the responsibility to think of where a better place would be then the learning will stick in their minds better.


3. How to peacefully deal with enforcing basic hygiene skills

Hygiene isn’t always top of mind for kiddos. Kids are busy and they don’t mind fuzzy teeth and bedhead.

Since we do mind paying their dental bill and would also like the general public to know that we try to take care of them, we have to be the ones to follow through.

Set an alarm. This is for you, not them. Setting an alarm on your phone for 10 minutes before you leave the house reminds you to remind them. Then supervise—at least peek in to make sure they’re really brushing.

When needed, help. Younger kids need help with teeth and hair and washing in general for far longer than we usually think. Scale back your help as they get older.

4. How to peacefully deal with lying

Gah! Why? We know they’re lying and suspect they know we know. Yet, they’re committed. This is actually a primitive and unrefined tool for staying connected and conflict-free. We know that it doesn’t really work that way but they’re new here.

For example, when your child lies about brushing her teeth, here’s what’s happening in her brain: She’s going to brush and then remembers she hates it. She decides that she’ll just hang out for 3 minutes instead so that she doesn’t have to brush.

Then you ask her The Question and she wishes she would’ve brushed but doesn’t want conflict with you so she answers in the affirmative.

Instead of seeing lying as the ultimate affront, try to understand the need that is being met by lying. How can you help her meet this need for secure relationships without letting the lie slide?

5. How to peacefully deal with hitting and hurting

Biting, throwing and hitting are normal parts of development for most kids. So just because your 5-year-old chucks a ball at your baby’s head doesn’t mean you’ll be visiting her in prison someday.

The way you react to this will set a precedent. Try to remain calm. If you fly off the handle then your 5-year-old is more prone to do the same.

It’s common for kids to immediately regret hurting someone. Help them make amends and talk about how to handle it next time they feel a strong emotion.

This sends the message that she can make mistakes and she can take responsibility and fix them.

6. How to peacefully deal with the refusal of dinner

My son went through a phase when he stopped eating what we prepared each night. The phase lasted until he moved out, which is to say we are still in the thick of it since he’s just 15.

When he was younger we gave him the choice of eating the dinner as it was made or having a sandwich. Choices that you can live with either way will save you. Red cup or blue cup? Sandwich or dinner?

7. How to peacefully deal with bedtime struggles

Bedtime is the biggest separation that children go through in their day. It also happens at the time when kids are most emotional because they’re tired. We see their looming bedtime as the gateway to adult freedom but they see it as missing out.

Make bedtime routines simple. And be consistent. A longer routine might actually stimulate kids and prolong the process.

Parenting peacefully takes time and energy, no doubt. It’s hard work to take other people’s feelings and needs into consideration at every turn, but it’s so worth it. When I hear my kids use these same strategies with each other and with other people, it makes my heart burst. Peaceful parenting is connection on purpose and that’s exactly what I want my kids to go out and sow in this crazy world of ours.

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Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$150

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$34.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$99.99

Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$178

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$34.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$99.99

Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.

$69.95

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!

$99

Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$30.99

Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$159.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$69.99

Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.

$159.99

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

$70

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.

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So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

Life

A good kid's winter coat needs to do a few basic things really well: be incredibly warm, water-resistant, easy to clean and a classic style so it can look good bundled over any other clothing they're wearing. For this reason, I usually avoid coats with heavy branding or patterns so that any winter outfit I put my son in "goes" with his jacket.

Primary is always one of my go-to brands for their super simple classic styling, so I was happy to see that Primary is currently having a sale on their solid-colored and high-quality winter gear. This kid's winter puffer coat caught my eye because it's on a steep discount (more than 50% off!), fits all my criteria above and even has a few bonus features I didn't know I needed but now totally love.

Kid’s winter puffer coat

I'm loving this jacket because it's fleece-lined, has thumbholes (so helpful in making sure my toddler doesn't lose his gloves) and comes with an "I belong to" ID label so that his coat won't get mixed up in the sea of other winter jackets at pre-school. Plus, it comes in six great colors and has a five-star rating.

As one reviewer put it, "This coat prompted my first review because it's perfect! Warm enough without being restrictive, easy zipper for my 5-year-old to manage himself and easy to clean! He loves the thumb holes!"

Originally $68.00

$29.50
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Mamas expecting babies this month are a special bunch—and not just because it's statistically unique to have a birthday during the shortest month of the year.

Science shows babies born in February already have advantages with everything from physical growth to creativity to even presidential elections. (It's no coincidence that President's Day is this month!)

Here are six reasons why February birthdays are so special:

1. They may be bound for the NBA

According to a 2006 study from Harvard researchers that examined data from 21,000 children around the world (including the southern hemisphere), those born in February were taller and weighed more at the age of 7 than their friends who were born during other times of the year. (Further proof: Michael Jordan celebrates his birthday on February 17.)

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2. Or on their way to a doctorate

The same study also showed winter-born babies performed best in a series of intelligence tests. As the researchers concluded, “The overall pattern of findings is that winter/spring babies are both 'bigger' on the anthropometric variables and 'smarter' on the selected neurocognitive variables."

3. They also have artsy sides

February babies are either born under the Aquarius or Pisces star signs—which are linked to the traits of originality and creativity. But even if you aren't one for astrology, a study complied from the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics found that people born in February are more likely to be artists.

4. Which may set them up for stardom

Speaking of the zodiac, one study published in the Journal of Social Sciences found a disproportionate number of celebrities claim the Aquarius star sign. That includes everyone from Bob Marley to Jennifer Aniston to Shakira. It's also one of the most popular star signs for American presidents—including Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Ronald Reagan (February 6).

5. Or, at least, satisfying careers

But don't feel bad for babies born in the latter half of the month: A survey from CareerBuilder.com found Pisces adults were among the “most satisfied" with their jobs. (They also have legs up on the competition if they ever find their way into a presidential election.)

6. They may have the rarest birthday of all

Babies on their way this year are out of luck. But, come 2020, a special group of newborns will have the distinction of being born on Leap Day, February 29. Sure, they won't get to mark their birthday for another four years, but they do get a prime pick of perks when that day does roll back around!

Snuggle up with that newborn while you can, mama. Once your February baby gets going, they'll be hard to stop.

[Originally published February 2, 2018]

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