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We’ve all been there. It’s time to leave the party and your three-year-old is having an epic meltdown in front of a sea of onlookers. Instead of using the calm, understanding voice that you’ve been practicing from your positive parenting books, you end up yelling and carrying your child out kicking and screaming. Then of course as soon as your sweet babe is asleep, you start free-falling into the pits of mom-guilt, wondering how you could have handled things differently.


While I can’t promise to rid you of the mom-guilt, I do hope I can help you and your little one cut down on the drama and come to a place of better connection and understanding.

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As a pediatric occupational therapist, I am well versed in managing tantrums. I truly believe that language skills and the comprehension of language are the missing pieces that so often lead to a frustrated child. I have seen children who have gone from throwing tantrums multiple times a day transform into children who are calm and content just by learning basic words to express their needs.

Since young children often don’t understand much of what is going on around them, it is our job as parents to explain the situation and help them feel somewhat in control of their world. I know you’re busy. I know you’re (beyond) tired. I know you might feel like you just don’t have enough time for this, but when you and your child aren't seeing eye-to-eye, just remember to put yourself in their shoes. It might give you a new perspective.

Try this the next time there’s potential for a meltdown—

1. Prepare them for upcoming events and changes in schedule.

This is, hands down, my number one recommendation for minimizing tantrums. If you don’t remember any other steps, remember this—tell them what’s on the agenda for the day.

Tell them specific things about the environment they’re about to walk into. If you’re going grocery shopping, fill them in on what you’re there to buy and what you’re NOT there to buy. If you normally go to the playground after school but today you can't because you have to pick up dry cleaning, tell your child about this change in routine ahead of time. Car rides are a great place to review these changes since you have a captive audience.

This applies to transitioning from one activity to the next, as well. Give a simple 5-minute warning before the transition (counting down the minutes if necessary). Say something like, “We are leaving the playground in 5 minutes to get ready for dinner.”

2. Set a routine.

Do your best to set times for meals, naps, and bedtimes and try to stick with the plan. Kids thrive off routines because they like knowing what to expect. Have you ever sat in on a preschool classroom? There’s a reason it’s scheduled to the minute. It would be total chaos otherwise. But do allow room for some flexibility because, let’s be honest, we all know things don't always go as planned with kids .

3. Teach basic words.

Children can begin comprehending routinely used words anywhere from around 9-15 months. So talk to them about everything!

If they understand phrases such as “all done” and “bye bye” you can see how this would prep them for leaving the playground vs. (from their perspective) mid-play being pulled into a car seat. The more they understand what is happening in their world, the more they feel in control and the less likely they will protest.

4. Let them finish!

Patience is a virtue, and boy, it sure doesn't come naturally to me.

If your child is in the middle of a puzzle with 5 pieces left but you want to leave to go to the store, try looking at the scenario from their perspective instead of yours. If you were smack dab in the middle of something at work and a colleague demanded you got up to do something right this second, I am sure you would feel like protesting too.

Just let them finish! Yes, this means you’ll have to wait. Patience is the art of waiting. If you want patient children, you’ll need to practice it yourself.

5. Trust them more.

It’s okay if your child makes mistakes! Be there to supervise when you know dangers are present, but sometimes learning through doing is the only way it will get through to them.

For example, I had to let my 15-month-old daughter learn the hard way not to play with the hot water faucet during her bath. Of course, I was there to make sure she didn’t burn herself but she must have turned the hot water on 50 times before I realized there was no talking her out of it. So, I let her do it. She touched the water briefly then stepped away immediately. Now she knows not to touch the hot water and we no longer have bath time battles.

6. Listen to and respond to their cues.

Just because they’re small doesn’t mean their needs and desires shouldn’t carry any weight. They need to be heard in order to feel validated and loved. (Don’t we all?) If they’re yawning and rubbing their eyes, but you want to bring them out somewhere in public, then it won’t be surprising when they start having a meltdown.

7. Give them a choice.

This is my go-to for my own kids. Giving choices helps a frustrated child regain some control over his/her situation. It plays out like this—your child is having a hard time and it’s about to turn into a meltdown. Instead of saying “no,” create two scenarios that they can choose from—both of which you would be fine with them choosing.

For example, your child requests macaroni and cheese for dinner but you have other, healthier plans. Instead of saying “no”, you can say, “We can’t have macaroni tonight but we can have it sometime this weekend. Should I cook it on Saturday or Sunday?” Either choice makes the child feel satisfied with a bit of control, and you still choose what’s for dinner. It’s a win, win.

8. Simplify your life.

Maybe you’re trying to do too much. And bringing your kids along for the ride. Kids get stressed out when there’s too much going on, just like we do. I realized, for example, that two outings in one day with little ones is just too much for us right now. So we’ll play in the backyard for the day or go for a walk. Less demands equals less to protest about.

9. Know when it’s okay to let them have a good cry.

As a parent, it is important to realize there is a difference between a child who is throwing a tantrum and a child who is crying because they’re hurting on the inside. And you need to be okay with that.

My son threw an enormous (what I thought) tantrum full of crying, sobbing and throwing markers because he colored something purple that was supposed to be pink. I tried everything imaginable to help him feel better and to let him know it’s okay to make mistakes, but he was still terribly upset and nothing I did could change that.

I realized that I needed to stop trying to make things better and just let him cry. Let him know I understand how he feels. That I have navigated through life for 32 years and making mistakes is still hard for me too.

My hope for you, mama, is that through implementing some of these strategies you and your little ones can enjoy more joy and peace in your relationship with one another and say goodbye to all the drama!

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

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

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"


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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)

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Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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