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Why I’m not rescuing my kids from failure

I wouldn’t be teaching them anything by trying to protect them from failures at every turn.

Why I’m not rescuing my kids from failure

Mama, I know what you're thinking. "What do you mean? You want your kids to fail?" Let me explain... I allow them to make low-stakes (safe), age-appropriate mistakes that do not have a huge impact on their daily lives.


The mama bear in me wants their lives to be smooth and failure-free. Thing is, I wouldn’t be teaching them anything by trying to protect them from failures at every turn. I know I wouldn’t be doing them any favors in life, either.

When they do make those inevitable mistakes, there are natural consequences. Sure, it would take less effort to remind them to complete their homework, pack their ballet and swim bags or clear out their school cubbies at the end of the day. But they also wouldn't feel responsible for taking charge of their actions or things if I did things for them all.the.time.

I can't tell you how many times my oldest has had a minor freakout about not finishing her homework when I started scaling back on trying to protect her so much from preventable failure. I bite my lip, smile and stop myself from offering help. By the end of the car ride to school, she almost always comes up with solutions on her own— “I’ll tell the teacher I forgot (taking responsibility!) and promise to have it done by the following day (problem solving!).”

I have endless tales of forgotten ballet shoes, goggles or precious lovies and guess what—we all survived (even the preschool lovie crisis when my youngest forgot her best buddies over a long weekend!).

I’m playing the low stakes, high impact game.

Still, it's not easy to see your child fail. Wiping away those preventable crocodile tears tugs at my heartstrings every time.

I have to remind myself that consequences are gifts in disguise, though, not a dereliction of my motherly 'duty' to protect my children from challenges.

There are days when I have to stop myself from trying to overprotect them with every ounce of my being. In those moments, I remind myself to step back and envision who I want my girls to become—resourceful, confident, independent and competent adults.

I have to remind myself that I learned some of the most important lessons in my life by making mistakes.

I was not only allowed to fail, but was held responsible for my actions and challenged to fix whatever I broke.

I not only learned how to cope with setback and failure, but I also got a lesson (or a few hundred) in problem-solving and perseverance.

I have to remind myself that my girls need to know it's okay to make mistakes as long as they own up to those failures and learn from them. They will only become more resilient and resourceful by failing.

And so far so good—they are both very comfortable with making mistakes (sometimes a little too comfortable!). We're still working on the 'what we've learned and what we'd do differently next time' concepts, but hey, one step at a time... For now I revel in the fact that I am doing what I can to teach them that making mistakes is okay.

So do I want them to fail? No. Absolutely not. Do I understand that they MUST fail in order to develop vital skills to succeed in life? Yes. With a heavy heart at times, but positively, YES.

Rarely is a woman more concerned with what her body needs than when she's pregnant. We start to question and research everything, right? From swearing off turkey sandwiches to diving down the rabbit hole of prenatal supplements that make up what we lack, the stress of overthinking is real, mama.

One of the main reasons we launched the Motherly Shop is to help take some of that stress away. We've tracked down the best brands and products developed by people (and in many cases, women!) that truly work to serve the needs of real mamas, especially throughout the overwhelming transition into motherhood.

That's why we knew we had to introduce mamas-to-be to the science-backed and expertly-formulated protein collagen for pregnancy from Needed. And as one of our bestsellers, it's clear you've been looking for it, too.

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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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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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