The big lesson my toddler is teaching me? Patience.

In his 21 months of life, Archer has already taught me so much about how to be a good mother, a more patient person, and even a better friend.

The big lesson my toddler is teaching me? Patience.

Earlier this year, I took a whirlwind trip to Los Angeles to see my two college best friends — I was 28 weeks pregnant and it seemed like the perfect time for a last-minute trip out West. Bonus: I got to escape the terror of this New York winter for three days sans child and husband. It was exhilarating, exhausting and incredibly restorative.

When I got back from my trip I woke up early the next morning with my 21-month-old son, Archer, who had been sick while I was away. My poor husband was run ragged from being up a few nights in a row with a sick baby and no backup, so I gladly took the early shift and let him rest a bit before we started the morning routine of prepping for our commutes to work and day care.


As soon as I took him out of his crib, Archer became inconsolable and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. None of my usual tricks were working. He sat in the hallway bawling, ignoring my pleas to give me some hint as to what was amiss. I was frustrated, and felt awful that I couldn’t fix whatever seemed to be bothering him so intensely. Finally, I turned to Archer and asked him “are you angry at mommy for leaving?” Instantly, he stopped crying and shook his head yes. “Did you miss me while I was gone?” “Yes,” he said and his face brightened up. I gave him a huge hug and, holding back tears, I said “Mommy missed you so much too, I’m so sorry you’re upset that I left. Would you like to hear about all the things I did while I was away and see some pictures from the trip?” “YES!”

We went over to the couch and I sat him on my lap. I told him stories about my friends who I visited and what we did each day. I showed him my photos, and a little video I took of a seal that we had spied swimming in the ocean among the surfers, knowing how excited he gets about animals of any kind. Then I asked him a bunch of questions about what he and daddy had done while I was away and gave him a chance to tell me about his weekend. After a few minutes of catching up we were giggling and he was asking me for breakfast and puzzles – back to our normal morning routine. I couldn’t believe how simple this solution was, and honestly I’m not sure why it occurred to me in that moment, but I’m so glad it did.

I learned so much in that instant by tapping into my son’s needs and mental state. I could have gotten annoyed, could have continued to try to “fix” his mood. But once I acknowledged his feelings and let him feel them safely, with me, he was able to fix it himself. Giving a name to his feelings helped him own them and deal with them in a way that truly surprised me. And like a true toddler, Archer moved on quickly, with hardly a trace of the emotions he had been feeling so intensely just a few moments before.

Moving forward, I have applied this lesson on many occasions in the few months since I returned from LA, and Archer responds beautifully to it almost every time. I get the sense that he trusts me with his feelings and is able to recover more quickly from a bad mood or a disappointment. He is certain in the knowledge that I am at least trying to understand him, instead of just controlling him or quieting him, and he has become confident in his abilities to pinpoint his own feelings and find his own ways of coping and managing.

In his 21 months of life, Archer has already taught me so much about how to be a good mother, a more patient person, and even a better friend. I’m amazed by his empathy, his sweetness, his self-awareness, and his fierce independence, which is coupled with an unselfconscious and unbridled need and love for me and my husband. I have learned to slow down and keep my eyes open to different possibilities, which can oftentimes go against my first instinct, particularly when I am feeling the most out of “parenting fuel.” This doesn’t add up to parenting perfection (as if!), but it has been useful more times than I can count in the toddler battles of wills, and the ebb and flow of emotions during this precious and often frustrating period in our lives. I’m thankful that my son has been patient enough with me to allow me time to learn this lesson.

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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