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Fear can make you stronger, my darling daughter

If you can harness fear to serve your ethic instead of your pride, it can be an unparalleled force for all that is good in you. It can break you or it can make you fierce.

Fear can make you stronger, my darling daughter

Your hands are trembling. You’ve broken down into full-fledged tears three and a half times, screamed with fear six times, and we have been on the children’s rope bridge in Disney’s California Adventure for going on 45 minutes.


Finally, half paralyzed with fear and tension, you crawl the final few feet to the break in the long downward spiral of this seemingly endless course, and I take your hand and steer you toward the stairs.

“No!”

“No?”

“No.” We sit on a nearby bench and I pick you up onto my lap. You look at me, big tears in your eyes which are also my eyes, and say again: “No. I want to keep going. I want to do it again.”

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“Love, you don’t seem like you are having fun. You are crying and scared. You don’t have to do this! We can take the stairs! It’s supposed to be fun.”

My eyes, stubborn and defiant in your exhausted face, blink the tears away. “No. I want to do it again.”

I’m 15 years old, suspended three-quarters of the way up a summer camp climbing wall, and those stubborn tears, hot like yours, are defying me by sliding down to pepper the top of my t-shirt.

Below me, a handful of friends and a counselor who have watched me struggle for a solid 45 minutes, shouting words of encouragement: “Hey! You did a great job!! You are so tired! It’s okay if you don’t make it all the way! Just say the word and you can come down!”

I am tired. My arms and fingers are somehow both on fire and practically frozen, my heart is beating faster than it should be, and I can’t see for the sweat and tears, neither of which I have the power to stop. But, No, says the bullheaded thump inside of me. No. I want to keep going. I want to do it again.

“Are you sure?” I ask you, lifting you off my lap and onto the ground. “If we go again, I cannot help you. I have to hold on so I don’t fall down and make you fall down. You will have to do it all by yourself.”

“Okay.” My eyes, your eyes, are sure. And 30 minutes later we are down on the ground. And you are victorious, having only cried once more, and not screamed, and making it all on your own, the rest of the way. And I have never seen myself in you more clearly.

That prideful will of ours? It will serve you and it will break you. You will be its hostage as often as it will make you a hero. It is a wild and noble, terrible and destructive thing.

It holds no weight and record of pain.

It does not bruise or burn.

It won’t always show up when you need it. It will arrive when you least expect it, at the wrong time, too late, too early.

It’s unpredictable and strange.

Fear will win, again and again. And losing will hurt a little more when you wonder why the fight in you isn’t burning.

It’s the balance in you that will walk away from crippling shame and failure, and then turn right back around to meet it again the next day.

And the same core that allows you to risk crashing boldly into love a thousand times will also forget to remember the stove was hot when you touched it.

Here is what else it forgets:

It is okay to fail.

It is okay to leave a thing when the leaving is necessary.

It is okay to stop giving when your arms are empty.

It is okay to rest and try again.

It is good to let precious things, especially people, have a little space to return to you.

It is good to learn what your limits are.

It is good to know an ending when you hold one.

It is okay to be less, to be only, to be you. You do not have anything to prove.

But here is what it knows: You are able.

Pain is a temporary tax for growth, and you are enough to pay it. Hurt and struggle and broken-hearted nights are inevitable visitors, but there are things for which they are worth enduring.

If you can harness your fight to serve your ethic instead of your pride, it can be an unparalleled force for all that is good in you.

If you can bend it and tame it and teach it to come when its called, it will allow you to love the unlovable, to hold space for impossible things, to see the rights and wrongs of the world and call them beautiful and come up swinging.

It will break you in half for no good reason, but it will also make you fierce.

“I was brave, wasn’t I?”

Yeah, little fighter.

Stubborn and foolish, beautiful and brave.

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.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 supporting Motherly and mamas.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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