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Hello little love. My gentle soul. My sensitive child.

Sensitivity is not so easily come by these days, yet I see it emanating from your tiny spirit. There are so many unique things about you that will help you experience life so completely—you’ll embrace each day with fervor and absorb beauty like spring bud yearning for rain.

But your sensitivity will be a burden for you as well. Sometimes the rain will be too much for your little heart to bear, and you will feel inundated by this life.

Sometimes, it will be so good. And sometimes, it will be really hard.

You notice everything.

Nothing escapes you. You pick up on subtle, minute details that others miss. You point out the coloring on a caterpillar’s body that I would for sure not have noticed. You can look at a child across the playground and tell that she feels lonely (and then go over and start playing with her). You find beauty in everything.

Your attention to detail will be an invaluable skill, and you will make observations that manifest in groundbreaking outcomes.

But sometimes, this will be your burden.

Your brain is absorbing so much information, and you get tired easily. Other kids can go through their day with stamina, but you get overwhelmed and needs lots of break. And sometimes, you just can’t anymore. Other kids are playing and running at a party, and you just start crying because it’s all too much. And this will continue for you forever.

I know, it’s really hard sometimes.

You feel things very deeply.

There is nothing quite like watching you when you are happy. Your entire face smiles, your eyes sparkle like the sea, and joy seems to shoot out from your fingers and toes—it’s contagious.

Your heart will be wide open to the range of emotions available to you, and your life will be rich and full because of it.

But sometimes, this will be your burden.

You feel hard emotions deeply too. When you are sad you are profoundly sad. It’s not easy for you to “snap” out of it (not that I want you to). Your mood swings are powerful. And the first time you have your heart broken will hurt more than you can possibly imagine.

I know, it’s really hard sometimes.

Other people’s emotions are your own.

You are truly happy when you see others’ joy, and though you are so young, you show a level of compassion that many adults will never have. You love to help people, and really want the world to be a better place.

Others will come to you for comfort, because they feel truly heard and safe in your presence. You will form deep connections and bonds with people, and should you choose to become one, you will be an amazing parent.

But sometimes this will be your burden.

You will never be able to “shrug off” someone else’s pain. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s amazing to want to make others happy—but others’ happiness shouldn’t be your responsibility. Sometimes it’s simply not possible to make someone happy. And if you have children, you will feel their pain in your core.

I know, it’s really hard sometimes.

You are so very curious.

When you love something, you are passionate about it. You could spend four hours building a fairy hut out of sticks, or an entire afternoon “writing” a book. Your (never-ending) questions fascinate me, and your desire to explore the world around you is so inspiring.

I’m not sure if you’re going to be a scientist or an artist (or a fashion designer-rock climber, as you told me over dinner today)—but whatever you are, you are going to move mountains with your curiosity.

But sometimes, this will be your burden.

The world is a not-so-pretty place sometimes, and you will never be able to tread through the mess lightly. You will ask tough questions and hear very tough answers. You will entrench yourself in the challenges of life and the pain of humanity.

I know, it’s really hard sometimes.

Like all things in life, my sweet child, it can’t all be one way. Every up has a down, and everything light can suddenly shift and feel like the weight of the world.

I just want you to know that I will be there with you, through it all.

Through all of the overwhelm.

Through every sad moment.

Through every heartbreak.

Through every disappointment.

I will be there, to wrap your sensitive little self up in my hugs and love. I can’t take the burden away, but I can help you carry it.


Your sensitive mama

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent. Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, is more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued so the crisis can be averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

For me, the fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas


Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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