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There are a lot of things I want to be for my child:


I want to be someone who challenges him to push himself, to not give into his fears, and to always strive for his best.

I want to be the person hugging him, or sitting quietly by his side, when his best falls short.

I want to be a scientist, always observing him so that I can know him better and know what he needs.

I want to be an architect, shaping his environment so that it offers him a place to thrive and grow.

I want to be a librarian, reading to him for hours on end and planting the seed for a love of books.

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I want to be his travel agent, planning adventures near and far to open his eyes to the world.

I want to be an explorer, discovering whatever worlds his yet to be determined interests lead us to, so we have common ground.

I want to be his chef, cooking him healthy meals and baking cookies with him on a Sunday afternoon.

Above all, I want to be a loving, safe place for him where he always feels welcome and knows he can be himself.

However, there is one thing I do not want to be:

I do not want to be an entertainer, making sure he’s always occupied, never bored, constantly engaged in something fun or “educational.”

Boredom is needed for creativity.

Quiet times of nothingness are where imagination sparks and ideas are born.

The ability to entertain yourself is a life skill, one that is falling away now that we have constant entertainment in our pockets.

So while I do play with him (after all I’m his only available playmate most of the time) I don’t interact with him 100% of the time he’s awake. I look for those moments when he’s inside his own head and I sit quietly while he entertains himself

I watch as the time he can do this stretches and I hope it serves him well as he grows.

I watch as he discovers shadows on the floor and tries to capture them.

I watch as he stares at his reflection in the mirror and watches himself move.

I watch as he stares out the window at the beautiful world, captivated by the leaves dancing in the wind.

I watch as he starts to get frustrated or want attention, and then I watch a little bit longer, until it’s a little uncomfortable, walking that line so that he knows—he doesn’t need me to entertain him.

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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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking.

On July 13, the Ventura County Sheriff's Department announced the 33-year-old mother's body was found at Lake Piru, five days after her son was found floating alone on a rented boat. According to Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub, Rivera's last action was to save her son.

"We know from speaking with her son that he and Naya swam in the lake together at some point in her journey. It was at that time that her son described being helped into the boat by Naya, who boosted him onto the deck from behind. He told investigators that he looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water," Ayub explained, adding that Rivera's son was wearing his life vest, but the adult life vest was left on the unanchored boat.

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Ayub says exactly what caused the drowning is still speculation but investigators believe the boat started drifting and that Rivera "mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat but not enough to save herself."

Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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