How to live a good life: A recipe for my kids

6. I hope you get to know people who are different from you.

How to live a good life: A recipe for my kids

Dear Kids,

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about who you will be when you’re older. There’s so much I want for you in this world, but I think that more than anything, I just want you to be good. Because people who are good, and who embody genuine kindness, are the happiest. And they help blot out the ugly and the cruel.

So I’ve been thinking about what it means to live a good and true and genuine life. Here are my wishes for you.

1. I hope you’ll be the kind of person who waits patiently behind the 80-year-old woman using 52 coupons at the grocery store.

I know you’ll be annoyed and in a rush. But she comes from a different time, a time when pennies were worth something. Sometimes I wish we lived then. Don’t sigh in irritation when she counts out change. Smile and wish her a good day.

2. I also hope you’ll be a good tipper and patient with people in training—in any profession.

Your mother was a waitress long before you walked this Earth. I’ll tell you from experience—if you are waiting on your food, more than likely, it’s not your waitress’s fault. She’s probably facing 4-letter words being hurled at her from an overworked cook every time she returns to the kitchen. Just be patient. You’re not actually starving.

Your mom was also a cashier. And a pizza flipper. And a dishwasher. And a myriad of other service positions. They all took training and the patience of people like you giving her a chance. Be kind and tip well.

3. I hope you never leave a hotel room trashed or neglect to throw away garbage because this is the job of cleaning staff and custodians.

No. These are human beings, like you. And while they have a job to do for which they are paid, they deserve respect and dignity. Please pick up after yourself wherever you go in life.

On that same note, I hope you have jobs like these. Wash cars to make extra cash. Deliver pizzas. Babysit. Wait tables and wash dishes. That’s how you’ll know and appreciate all that these jobs entail.

4. I hope you have self-awareness.

I did not really develop mine until adulthood, so I don’t expect much when you’re a kid. But at some point, I truly hope you realize that you came from a place of privilege. Your nation of birth, your skin color and your socioeconomic status provided you a great deal of privileges and opportunities. Learn about what that means. Understand it. And do something good with it.

5. I hope you read, read, read.

Learn about your world, its history, and its cultures. Get lost in a murder-mystery that you can’t put down. Read books that make you cry. And think. And feel inspired.

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6. I hope you get to know people who are different from you.

Different religiously, ethnically, racially, economically, politically. Listen to what they have to say.

7. Please do things that make you feel uncomfortable.

Try weird foods. Go places that don’t have chain restaurants. Go somewhere where you have to learn a new language or culture. Get out of your safe bubble or else your life will be suffocatingly boring.

8. I hope you take care of your body, because you only get one.

Nourish it with good stuff. Eat apples and broccoli. But for the love of God, eat the cake and drink the wine too. Especially at parties, weddings, and on vacation.

9. Don’t be a martyr.

Work hard, but neglecting yourself achieves nothing in the long run.

10. I hope you learn to fail.

It might be the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do. You need to learn how to accept the gut punch of failure, grieve, be pissed, and then get back up and go again. No one—and I mean NO ONE who is successful has gotten there without failing along the way.

11. I hope you assert yourself.

I want you to be respectful, but also stand up for yourself and for others. Nobody is allowed to put you down and make you feel lesser than.

However, if you were wrong, apologize. And mean it.

12. Let go of anger.

It only hurts you. I am sad to say that you will be wronged and mistreated in your life. I hope you find a way to let it go and lift that burden off of your heart. It is far too heavy and will keep you from living a life of joy. The moment you forgive, you’ll feel love seep into the cracks and fill you up where the anger used to be.

13. I hope you’ll always have each other’s backs.

There are three of you, so you’ll always have someone to call and to count on. Don’t forget that when you all grow up and move all over the country chasing your dreams.

And finally, I hope you don’t fight over who gets Mom and Dad when we are old and decrepit. There’s plenty of us to go around.

Love, Mom

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10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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