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Be your child’s parent, not their BFF

Kids will have the opportunity to have many friends over their lifetime. But they only have one Mom and one Dad.

Be your child’s parent, not their BFF

We see it all over social media, at the mall and around town. Moms and daughters arm-in-arm, shopping, gossiping, lunching—just like BFFs. The male counterpart can be just as alluring: the “cool” Dad, always the hit of the party, the lenient Dad who can be counted on to bend the rules.


Don’t do it. Here are three reasons why:

1. It’s not in the job description.

2. Friendship is egalitarian. Parenting is not.

3. It’s harmful for your children.

Allow me to explain.

Being your child’s BFF is not in the “Parent” job description.

Here are the essential responsibilities of parenting:

  • Give unconditional love
  • Provide a safe emotional and physical environment
  • Teach family values and basic morals
  • Make and enforce family rules
  • Set limits
  • Mentor
  • Champion
  • Deliver loving criticism, provide reality-testing, mete out consequences

When you do it (mostly) right, your kids will come to trust that you have their back as no friend can. And that gives them a better-than-decent chance of arriving at young adulthood confident in their ability to pursue relationships, a career and fulfill their other aspirations.

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Kids will have the opportunity to have many friends over their lifetime. But they only have one Mom and one Dad. Don’t abandon your role—or them.

Friendship is egalitarian. Parenting is not.

Your children’s friends are their equals. They’re supportive of one another’s wildest ideas, even those not in line with family values and rules. Friends are permissive, buddy-buddy, partners in childhood crime.

The urge to befriend one’s children is basically moot with young offspring, who are totally dependent on and often in awe of their parents. It’s as if toddlers implicitly understand the power differential that needs to exist between parent and child: “If you’re changing my diaper, you’re totally the boss of me.”

But when our children start to differentiate and become more autonomous, that sense of who’s the boss of whom—which generally doesn’t exist between friends—can become a harder line to toe.

The biggest danger of abandoning your parental responsibilities—of loosening them, even—is that if you do, you’ll have a harder time enforcing rules and standards. Parenting operates like trust. Once you lose it, it’s hard to get back. Don’t run that risk.

It’s harmful to children.

Clearly, being a parent is significantly harder and more complex than being a friend. You have to give kids bad news and set limits—again and again. You must provide constructive feedback on their actions—and enforce consequences. Actions like these may not position you for “Parent of the Year” in your children’s eyes.

There are a number of reasons a parent might gravitate toward shifting the balance of power with their kids, including:

  • Wanting to be seen as ‘cool’ or the good guy
  • Not wanting kids to be angry or disappointed in parent for any reason
  • Confusing over-sharing and talking about others as closeness or intimacy
  • Treating your teen as a confidante to fill social or emotional voids
  • Such betrayals of the parental role stymie their emotional development.

In the animal kingdom, homo sapiens are the only mammals that maintain a long attachment between parent and offspring. That means that if parents don’t do the job until our kids have the skills and tools to essentially become their own parent, the job doesn’t get done.

Starkly put, if you abdicate your role as the parent in favor of befriending your children, you leave your kids in the position of parenting themselves – a job they simply are not capable of performing.

Parenting is such an important job. And when it comes to our children, we’re “it.” They have no other Mom and Dad. We may make lots of mistakes along the parenting journey, but this is one to avoid.

Originally posted on HuffPost.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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