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I wish I could be as brave as my son

Because sometimes it takes courage to be the kind one.

I wish I could be as brave as my son

“This is the buddy bench," the two newly minted kindergarteners told me.


My son and his friend, Maeve, went on to explain the bright blue bench sitting in the middle of the playground. “It's if you don't have someone to play with or you are feeling sad you sit on the buddy bench and then someone will come help you."

Already particularly emotional that day, and it being my first time on lunch duty in Elementary School, I couldn't help but feel my eyes swell over with tears and a large lump form in my throat. I looked around and saw one small girl crying on a step, three friends around her trying to comfort her. I saw one bigger boy take a big fall during a kickball game, rolling on the ground in tears, friends around him to help him up. My heart broke at the thought of no one to play with. Tucker and Maeve went on to climb the jungle gym while I sat with my thoughts.

A moment later, they were back, and at the same time, we all noticed a little boy on the buddy bench. Alone.

“Uh oh. A boy is on the buddy bench," observed Tucker. “Maybe we should go say hi," I suggested. Tucker tugged my hand and whispered “But we don't know that friend." Maeve looked right at the buddy bench, then back at me, and boldly said, “But I think we should say hi anyway." I told her that was the brave thing to do (again, with massive tears about to overflow). We marched on. Right as we approached, a recess monitor was unpacking a new game and inviting a bunch of lost looking children to play. Suddenly the boy on the bench was smiling, busy in the game. Tucker and Maeve seemed simultaneously relieved they didn't have to be quite so brave that time, and pleased the boy found friends.

When the recess bell rang, I gave my boy a hug and a kiss and walked back to my car. Once I was safely inside, I let those tears flow.

I couldn't stop thinking about how much courage it takes to be the kind one. To step out of a comfort zone and be bold enough to say “come be with me." I was humbled, feeling the courage it takes to be a kid, in general.

My son was one of the many who began the new journey of Kindergarten this year. He was a bundle of feelings leading up to it. The anxiety of the unknown of this elusive concept kindergarten was challenging. We spent most of Sunday before school started wading through his questions, (me stopping to cry periodically), talking through coping strategies for when he was nervous at school, and cuddling in an attempt to build up fear immunity with snuggles.

When first drop off came, when it was time to say good-bye, Tucker requested a short goodbye. He seemed to know that a long drawn out hugging scene would cause his courage to wane. So it was quick. A big kiss, a reminder his special rock was in his backpack should he need it, and he bravely lined up at Room 4. Over the day I tried to let go and trust, as well as to remotely send him as many brave vibes as I could.

At 3:40, the boy who emerged from the school doors was not the same child who had entered. He was proud, confident, seemingly years older in a matter of hours. As we debriefed and analyzed the day together, I tried to impress upon him how very brave he was. Not because he pushed his fear away and plowed through, but because he felt his fear, he owned it, and he did it anyway.

I think our children need to understand that being brave is not the absence of fear.

Courage is accepting our fears, our worries, our feelings, and sitting with them. Allowing them space. Courage is the internal knowledge and trust that it will be ok, and then walking forward into whatever comes our way.

The courage that children show every day is astounding. Showing up to face their fears outside their home, feeling everything from excitement to loneliness to confusion to understanding, all in the span of moments, is exhausting.

Being a small human in a big world is a lot of work. Big, bold, courageous work.

I need to remember that often. Both for myself, in my big adult world that can seem all too terrifying, and as a mother. I need to feel the enormousness of all their feelings and respect them. I don't believe children's feelings can be considered 'no big deal' —in fact, I see small children as some of the bravest people there are.

Courage: Feeling the feels and walking forward anyway.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



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

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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