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It’s no longer enough for people to be non-violent, to not add to the problem. We need people who will work against violence.


In order for those people to exist, we need to help shape them.

Our children can grow up to be the generation that says enough is enough. To say that human beings are smart enough and kind enough and brave enough to say no to prejudice and hate. It’s such a very big problem, but let’s do what we can to end it.

I pledge to never laugh at a racist or sexist joke, even if it makes things awkward.

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I pledge to say what I believe instead. Our children are watching and listening, always. It’s not enough to not be the one making the joke. It’s not enough to be silent.

I pledge to seek out diverse schools and churches and communities for my son to be a part of. Because it’s knowing real people, of all kinds, on a personal level, that puts a stop to hate.

I pledge to talk about race in our house, even if it makes me uncomfortable.

I pledge to read books and listen to music and admire art from all different cultures with my son.

I pledge to celebrate different cultures by cooking their recipes and going to eat their food at authentic restaurants because food brings us together and gives us a glimpse into the beauty of different groups of people.

I pledge to talk to him about bullying, about standing up for people, and about connecting with people who are different, or who may look different, but really have so much in common.

I pledge to do everything I possibly can to raise a child who will not only not add to the violence of the world, but who will do what he can to stop it.

It’s a scary world out there and it’s easy to feel like we can’t do anything to make it better. But we can, and we should. We can do a million mundane, seemingly insignificant things that help shape our children every day, and add up to something real.

We have a big, often daunting, job trying to talk to our children about everything that’s going on. But we also have an awesome responsibility and a beautiful opportunity to help them be the kind of people who will work hard to build a better future.

It’s never too early to start the conversation.

Original story by Christine Clemer for Montessori-ish Mom.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

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

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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