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You're in the home stretch. Dinner is done. Toys have been tidied. PJs are on. You have storybooks in hand, and there is just one more thing to do. "Time to brush your teeth," you tell your 5-year-old, who looks at you and yells, "NO!" then runs in the opposite direction.

You wonder why you are surprised since this happens most nights. You could pull them out from under the bed where you know they are hiding, and bring them kicking and screaming to the bathroom (reminding them how they need to brush their teeth to avoid cavities). You could give in and tell them their teeth have to be done tomorrow (and face the same argument all over again then.) You could offer a barter. An extra book and a song in return for compliance. However, you know they will string out negotiations and your frustration will hit new levels.

But bribes, rewards and forcing a child do not work long-term.

When children resist doing things that need to be done, our options can feel limited. And none of the above strategies prove useful for long. Forcing a child to do something feels harsh and diminishes trust. Giving in shows a child that when they go off-track, you cave in, and puts them in a position of too much authority for their young years. And bartering and rewards have been shown to reduce children's intrinsic motivation; in addition, they continue the struggle between you.

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When a child refuses to do what you ask, there are hidden reasons. Our kids don't deliberately say no just to push our buttons. When they do say no, it's because their feelings and emotions have overwhelmed their ability to think and cooperate. Saying "No!" is a signal that your attention on the subject is needed. The options above are temporary solutions based on wielding power over an already anxious child, or on giving up forging a healthy solution that pleases both of you.

Here's an approach that fosters trust, partnership and co-regulation. It involves discovering a supportive way to work with your child to dissolve the feelings driving their resistance, until they're happy to be part of the solution.

With some forward planning, your child will soon feel able to do more of the things you ask. You can think of it as the Seven C's For Holding An Expectation.

  1. Continuing process: When setting limits, adopt a long-term view
  2. Choose: Decide which request you want to work on
  3. Cultivate: Lay the groundwork with both yourself and your child
  4. Communicate/consent: Set the expectations limit when things are calm
  5. Confidence: Hold the expectation
  6. Calm: Calm and helpful responses to use when your child says no
  7. Care: Respond with listening and care when your child says no

1. Continuing process: Adopt a long-term view

We often think of limit-setting as something that has to happen quickly, when we ask and without delay. And we seek quick fixes when we don't get immediate obedience. In this fresh approach, it's important to see limit-setting as an ongoing project. We will be working not on the resistance itself, but the cause of the resistance. This requires a longer-term view, but will bring lasting transformation.

2. Choose: Decide which request you want to work on

If your child resists waking up, eating breakfast, going to school, picking up their belongings and going to sleep, it can be hard to know where to start. And it's tempting to want to work on everything at once, but don't! Pick one issue, and focus there.

Decide which limit is most important to you, and why, then find a good time to approach the subject when things are calm (and before you need it done).

3. Cultivate: Lay the groundwork

Approach the resistance from both sides.

Groundwork with your child: When we are getting along well with someone else, we are more trusting and able to answer to their requests, and so before holding an expectation you want to make sure you are feeling in touch, open, and close to your child. There are a few good ways to build this closeness.

Sharing time doing the things your child chooses, laughing often, and playing together are all helpful ways to build that connection. Using Hand in Hand Parenting's Playlistening and Special Time tools naturally builds opportunities to interact in a way that fosters closeness each day.

Special Time: An invitation to play in which you give your child a specific amount of time to choose what they want to play, and how you will be involved, is a brilliant tool to use often. It helps your child feel the warmth of your attention. Once you have identified a pattern of resistance around a task, you can boost connection further by offering five or 10 minutes of Special Time before you hold an expectation for them to do something. If your child's resistance to a task is linked to needing more of your attention, you may even see their resistance totally disappear after some intensive Special Time.

You can also try using Playlistening around tasks and expectations in these ways:

  • Reverse roles and become the one who doesn't want to do things. Make it exaggerated and playful, but only continue if you find it makes your child laugh.
  • Create a routine of a playful and physical play with lots of laughter. For example, while I was building toward addressing my son's frequent resistance, we played more roughhousing games, usually before we began our bedtime routine.

Playlistening helps you target resistance indirectly, using laughter and play, and can be a powerful way to shift your child's shouts of "No" to "Yes."

Groundwork for yourself : Setting limits is as much about us as it is our kids. Although a child's refusal might appear to be their issue, it can trigger a rush of feelings for us too. It helps to start holding an expectation or a limit after getting grounded and comfortable about it ourselves.

For instance, when my son suddenly resisted going to preschool for a few consecutive mornings, I started doing my own groundwork. I checked to see if I still thought that the preschool was right for him, and thought once again about whether he was ready for it. Yes was my answer to both, so I continued holding the expectation that he would go.

I checked in with my best thinking using a Listening Partnership, which is a way to address what's going on in your head, check biases from your own upbringing, and experience the kind of emotional support that you'd like to offer your child. There are many places to find a parent who might like to do a free exchange of listening time with you, including this group, and the process is simple.

Having the space to clear out how you feel about limits in general, and to offload the feelings you have about the particular expectation you want to hold for your child, will help you get comfortable with setting the limit. Listening Partnerships give you a place to feel heard and held.

Here are some ideas to experiment with in your listening time when you are working on holding an expectation.

A Listening Partner role models holding expectation for you

A good place to begin with this is by sharing where you have difficulties meeting expectations in your own life. Taxes? Folding clothes? Being on time?

Ask your listening partner to hold the expectation that you are working on: "It's time to do your expense sheet now." Their role is to help you find the exact feelings that underlie your resistance. It's not to make you do the thing you resist!

Then you can say all the things you want to say, without any censorship:

"I don't want to!"

"You do it for me!"

"I'll do it later!'

Your listening partner can just listen with a full attention or if it is helpful, they can offer a phrase (You can set this up before your listening time begins.) Try, "It's time to do it now," or "Expense sheet!" or "I am sure you can do it… and right now show me how hard it is."

You will notice feelings bubbling up–you might feel embarrassed, guilty, insulted…the possible reactions are countless! If you feel safe enough, you will release the tension you feel in laughter, a tantrum, a light sweat, or in crying about how overwhelmed or exhausted you feel.

Once you have processed those feelings, go a bit deeper. Have them ask, "Tell me the first time you did not like doing things you are supposed to."

There's nothing like putting yourself in another's shoes to build empathy, and this time, you get to see the world from your child's point of view. You also get to experience the kind of limit setting that involves meeting expectations with a listener's support. You'll have a loving reminder of the expectation and permission to process feelings in the presence of caring person.

This makes it a whole lot easier to offer similar permission to your child.

Offload your feelings about your child's behaviors in your Listening Partnership

You can also ask your listening partner to role-play your resistant child, and then let loose with all the reactions you have inside. This gives you a chance to start processing them.

If setting limits this way feels hard, that's okay.

Many of us may have a hard time imagining what calmly and warmly holding an expectation looks like because it is such a departure from the way we were raised. It's natural to feel difficulty trying to do something we haven't experienced. Your listening partner can model what you may have a hard time imagining, by role-playing setting a loving limit with you, or around the tasks your child resists.

4. Communicate/consent: Set the expectations limit when things are calm

And so, with groundwork laid, you can begin work on your child's refusal. Begin by setting the limit when things are calm, and you feel well resourced. Announcing the expectation may sound like, "We will go to your school after Special Time and breakfast, at 8 am."

When we announce the limit ahead of time it gives a useful window.

If your child says "Sure!" and they can agree at least then, you might talk about ways that make it easier. "I noticed it was hard for us to get ready, what can I do for you so you can enjoy your preschool tomorrow?"

If they get upset about the very thought of the expectation, they are ready to work on the tension they carry.

You can choose to help them there and then. A first step might be a playful intervention. With a child that resists the idea of going to their preschool, you could playfully say, "I don't want to either! Let's stay here and snuggle forever and ever. No bathroom break, no lunch break, just snuggle and snuggle and snuggle," and give them a snuggle.

Watch how they respond. If your child responds to your playful approach with a smile or laughter, keep going. This loosens up the stuck feelings and sheds a little light on them, so when you hold the expectation next time it might not feel so stark.

When your child's feelings are really stuck, they may get agitated or upset at the mention of your expectation, or in response to your Playlistening. In that case, switch to Staylistening, where you stay close and listen quietly and with caring while your child rails and cries about the expectation.

5. Confidence: Hold the expectation that the request will happen

Now comes what you have no doubt been waiting for. Setting and holding a limit. The process is essentially the same whichever limit you want to hold.

  1. Move in close and set the limit, warmly and firmly, using eye contact.
  2. Listen to your child's feelings
  3. Re-state the limit, calmly.

Here are a few examples:

Holding an expectation around taking a bath: You did the groundwork. You are quite certain that you want a bath to happen and you are clear on your reasons why. You both agree your child will take a daily bath, but when you tell your child that it's time, they protest. You listen for a minute. Then you come close, hold their hands, make eye contact and point to the direction of the bath. "Time for a bath," you say. Then you listen to their upset, making sure they don't distract themselves with another activity. "Nope, no coloring now. Bath time."

Holding an expectation around brushing teeth: If your child has agreed to a morning and evening brushing, you can show the toothbrush and say, "Ready? Time to brush." If they flail, sit quietly with them, with the toothbrush and toothpaste. When the crying or tantrum slows down, bring the child's attention back to the expectation, "Time to brush your teeth." If your child gets upset or cries because of your expectation, you know that they are shedding the feelings that cause them to react. It's a sign that there's something good taking place. Tension releases. Your caring pours in. It takes time, but you'll get results!

6. Calm: Responses to use when your child says 'no'

When the expectation is held with kindness, your child's job is to show you fully how they feel inside. All you need to do is to give your child your time and your presence. These are some steps to consider when your child cannot meet the expectation after they have initially agreed, and when they have begun to cry or get angry.

1. Listen with your eyes as much as your ears and try to offer your whole presence.

2. Make sure everyone stays safe. If your child attacks the toilet tissue and tears it up, for instance, you can regard this as a safe way for them to express their feelings, but picking up a chair with the intent to throw it needs to be stopped. Tell them immediately, "No, I can't let you do that. Not safe." Stop them quickly but calmly, with your body.

3. Check internally if you have the time and patience to keep Staylistening. If you do, use Step 4, if not, skip to Step 5.

4. As your child's outrage calms, gently remind them of your expectation. This is not to win their immediate compliance, but is an invitation to them to keep sharing how they feel about it. Your gentle reminder guides your child's mind to refocus on the feelings that cause their resistance.

The image I use in my mind during this process is of the child digging a tunnel through a sand dune. Their job is to keep digging (shedding their feelings) until they get through the tunnel and out into the light. For them to get to the other side, my job is to hold the flashlight, showing them, "This way! You can make it to the other side." Your child does the work while you support them and show them the way.

Each time they work on these feelings they make it farther through the dune. They may regain their talent for cooperation within one Staylistening session, or it may take a few different times of shedding feelings while you hold the expectation. All work shedding feelings is good work. If the dune always stays undug, your child will continually try to avoid it, and their resistance to the task will remain. They will take a very very long time to reach "the light."

5. If you find yourself out of time and patience, stop your Staylistening. Rest assured that you have helped your child begin breaking down the resistance they feel to the task and that you will return to that work the next time you hold the expectation on the limit.

6. Whenever your child works on their resistance, watch to see how they express their feelings physically. Yawning, crying, laughing, sweating, moving their body around and even saying mean things are signs that they are digging deeper through the sand dune. Once their tunnel is in place, their resistance disappears. When you hold the expectation in the future, they'll move freely through the open tunnel to fill your request.

7. Remind yourself that this way of setting limits is not about compliance. You did not fail or do something wrong if your child's crying doesn't immediately give way to compliance, although that may happen sometimes. How long it takes for your child to dissolve his emotional reaction to your expectation depends on the depth of feelings or fears they have about what you want them to do. In my case, I had to work on the same issue with my son for days, even weeks, and once or twice, when his fears were deeply held, for months. Always, after a ground-shaking show of feelings, things shifted.

For example, when it was time to leave the house for the preschool as we had agreed, my son would not put on his socks, or he would drag his feet all the way. These signs showed me that we need to pause the "going-to-preschool" protocol so I could pivot, move in, and connect by offering eye contact and my full attention.

I laid some more groundwork by starting our morning routine 20 minutes or so earlier. Not having to rush helped me to stay calm and patient. When I said, "It's time to put on your socks," I held the socks. This is often the moment I started hearing voices in my head, saying things like, "We agreed to do this yesterday, and if you don't we will be late!" or "Son, if you don't put these on, you won't get your…" These are often things we heard growing up, or we hear others say. But these are not helpful motivators, so I held back. I sat down and held the sock in my hand and stayed there while my child cried and protested. He squirmed but I stayed with him, holding his little body in my arms.

He would say, "No! I don't want to!" and I would say, "I know you don't. You can put on a sock. Let's do it—here I come!"

I didn't force the socks on, but suggesting it and gauging my son's reactions guided me to what he needed.

Holding an expectation when others are listening

When there are other adults involved, it can get tricky. This kind of waiting for a child to work through their feelings with a few words here and there from the parent can be highly frustrating for grown-ups. If their idea of an outcome means fulfilling the expectation—in my case this would have looked like getting out the door without fuss and skipping off to preschool—my "long-term view" approach did not appear to be "working."

My mother would watch me and get upset. Luckily, we were on the same page about sending him to the preschool, and so I would say, "Thanks for your concern, but I can handle it. He's working very hard to get to a space where he can enjoy his school. I have seen him work through some hard things before. It will be okay."

When will a no become yes?

We worked on him not wanting to go to preschool for several mornings, often arriving late, with an impatient brother tagging along glumly. And then one morning his father Staylistened to our son's vigorous crying and struggles. My son got sweaty and cried hard with lots of wild movements. Then he fell asleep.

We decided that it was so late for preschool, and he wouldn't go. But when he work up, he opened his eyes and he said, "I am ready." From that day on, he went to preschool everyday with little resistance. A couple of years later, he experienced a similar fear response about starting Kindergarten, and I listened to his feelings in very much the same way. He refused and refused to go, but after a long and deep cry and struggle with me listening to him one morning, he was able to start going to school happily and willingly.

I still don't know what he was afraid of or he was working on emotionally, but I know that after he worked hard on his emotions, he has been able to function extremely well in a school setting.

What to do if the problem behavior is persistent

When the problem behavior is persistent, it can be a good strategy to take a break and come back to the issue later, if you possibly can. For example, if getting to school in the morning is challenging, try fixing your schedule so that you can take a wellness day with your child and spend a connecting day together without going to school.

7. Care: Responding with care when your child still says no

Use your time to play, have fun and lay a little extra groundwork. To find out what might be underneath their behaviors, consider:

Your Child: When does your child does want to go to school? Is it about missing you? Is there something that your child doesn't like at school? Are there health or learning concerns that have not been addressed? Did something change in your child's life recently?

How about you? What comes up for you when they don't want to go? Is it hard kissing you baby goodbye or seeing her grow up? Did you like going to school, or do you have less-than-sunny remembrances? How did the adults in your life respond when you did not want to do things?

Once you have reconsidered and reconnected, you'll be ready to start the process once again. Your child can go back to digging through their sand dune—and sooner or later, you'll both scamper through that tunnel and into less resistance and more fun.

Keiko Sato-Perry is a Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor based in Redwood City, USA. Originally posted on Hand in Hand Parenting.

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There are certain moments of parenthood that stay with us forever. The ones that feel a little extra special than the rest. The ones that we always remember, even as time moves forward.

The first day of school will always be one of the most powerful of these experiences.

I love thinking back to my own excitement going through it as a child—the smell of the changing seasons, how excited I was about the new trendy outfit I picked out. And now, I get the joy of watching my children go through the same right of passage.

Keep the memory of this time close with these 10 pictures that you must take on the first day of school so you can remember it forever, mama:

1. Getting on the school bus.

Is there anything more iconic than a school bus when it comes to the first day of school? If your little one is taking the bus, snap a photo of them posed in front of the school bus, walking onto it for the first time, or waving at you through the window as they head off to new adventure.

2. Their feet (and new shoes!)

Getting a new pair of shoes is the quintessential task to prepare for a new school year. These are the shoes that will support them as they learn, play and thrive. Capture the sentimental power of this milestone by taking photos of their shoes. You can get a closeup of your child's feet, or even show them standing next to their previous years of first-day-of-school shoes to show just how much they've grown. If you have multiple children, don't forget to get group shoe photos as well!

3. Posing with their backpack.

Backpacks are a matter of pride for kids so be sure to commemorate the one your child has chosen for the year. Want to get creative? Snap a picture of the backpack leaning against the front door, and then on your child's back as they head out the door.

4. Standing next to a tree or your front door.

Find a place where you can consistently take a photo year after year—a tree, your front door, the school signage—and showcase how much your child is growing by documenting the change each September.

5. Holding a 'first day of school' sign.

Add words to your photo by having your child pose with or next to a sign. Whether it's a creative DIY masterpiece or a simple printout you find online that details their favorites from that year, the beautiful sentiment will be remembered for a lifetime.

6. With their graduating class shirt.

When your child starts school, get a custom-designed shirt with the year your child will graduate high school, or design one yourself with fabric paint (in an 18-year-old size). Have them wear the shirt each year so you can watch them grow into it—and themselves!

Pro tip: Choose a simple color scheme and design that would be easy to recreate if necessary—if your child ends up skipping or repeating a year of school and their graduation date shifts, you can have a new shirt made that can be easily swapped for the original.

7. Post with sidewalk chalk.

Sidewalk chalk never goes out of style and has such a nostalgic quality to it. Let your child draw or write something that represents the start of school, like the date or their teacher, and then have them pose next to (or on top of) their work.

8. In their classroom.

From first letters learned to complicated math concepts mastered, your child's classroom is where the real magic of school happens. Take a few pictures of the space where they'll be spending their time. They will love remembering what everything looked like on the first day, from the decorations on the wall to your child's cubby, locker or desk.

9. With their teacher.

If classrooms are where the magic happens, teachers are the magicians. We wish we remembered every single teach we had, but the truth is that over time, memories fade. Be sure to snap a photo of your child posing with their teacher on the first day of school.

10. With you!

We spend so much time thinking about our children's experience on the first day of school, we forget about the people who have done so much to get them there—us! This is a really big day for you too, mama, so get in that photo! You and your child will treasure it forever.

This article is sponsored by Rack Room Shoes. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

[Editor's Note: We support parents in making the best infant feeding choices for their family, whether that be formula feeding, breastfeeding, pumping, donor milk or any combination of feeding methods.]

Feeding babies takes a lot of effort, no matter what a baby is eating. Parents need support whether their baby is drinking breastmilk, formula or both, but we know mothers often don't feel supported in either choice. Mothers who choose or have to use formula often feel stigmatized, while mothers who breastfeed often get shunned for public breastfeeding or find themselves needing to pump in a workplace that offers no lactation room.

Individual mothers pay when society doesn't support parents in breastfeeding their babies. Formula can be expensive, but when workplaces discriminate against nursing moms, it's an expense some women have no choice but to take on. But that's not the cost we're discussing here.

A new website created by breastfeeding researchers Phan Hong Linh, Roger Mathisen and Dylan Walters suggests that, on a global scale, failing to support breastfeeding is costing an estimated $341 billion a year.

The Cost of Not Breastfeeding tool was developed by Alive & Thrive, an initiative to save lives and prevent illness worldwide through "through optimal maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, and complementary feeding practices." To be clear, the site isn't targeted at individual parents who are unable or choose not to breastfeed their babies. Rather, it's a tool that illustrates the global economic losses that might be attributed to the low percentage of breastfed babies.

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The researchers behind the tool hope policymakers will look at it and decide to commit more resources to support parents.

Using the tool, you can use a dropdown menu to see how these costs break down for 34 different countries. In the U.S., where only 24% of children are exclusively breastfed, the tool estimates that it costs more than $28,000,000 in healthcare just to treat diarrhea and respiratory infections in children that could be prevented if more mothers were supported in breastfeeding.

Though many of the developing countries in the tool have higher percentages of breastfeeding than the United States, the costs of not breastfeeding the remaining children are higher. This is presumably because the risk of the associated diseases is already higher in those countries (due to factors like poverty, water quality, etc.).

Alive & Thrive gathered data on mortality (of children and mothers); cases of diarrhea, pneumonia, and obesity in children that could be attributed to not breastfeeding; cases of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and type II diabetes in mothers; the cost of medical care for those conditions; the cost of formula; and then the future cost to the economy of the loss of children's lives and having unhealthy children and mothers.

Many of these numbers are estimates based on estimates, but it's hard to argue against the bigger-picture argument of the tool's developer, health economist Dylan Walters.

"We need to be sensitive to the constraints and hardships faced by mothers and families in a world that lacks basic support systems for their physical, psycho-social, and economic well-being," Walters said in a post on Alive & Thrive's website. "Even more, mothers and families are up against a constant barrage of corporate marketing of alternatives and misinformation spread that undermines what should be boringly second nature and not stigmatized by society."

The organization recommends a minimum of 18 weeks of paid family leave and more support of nursing mothers on work sites. It also states that governments should enforce laws limiting the advertisement of infant formula.

Such laws may make sense in countries where access to clean water makes formula feeding difficult, but in wealthy nations like the United States, where formula feeding is a safe and legitimate choice, some worry limiting information about formula stigmatizes and patronizes mothers who are capable of choosing what is best for their babies.

The World Health Organization recommends that babies exclusively breastfeed for their first six months, and then receive a combination of breast milk and other nutrition until they are 2 years old. UNICEF estimates that globally as of 2016, 43% of children are exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months of life, and 46% continue until age 2. A recent survey found 1 in 4 Americans do not believe moms should be allowed to breastfeed or pump in the clear view of the public, and while 90% of Americans say they believe women should be allowed to pump at work, about 1 in 3 do not believe employers should be required to provide a lactation room.

The discrepancy here between what is recommended and what is actually supported is shocking. Mothers are being told to breastfeed, but then are also being told to cover up, or that they can't pump at work. When there are so many obstacles to breastfeeding it shouldn't be shocking that breastfeeding rates in America are lower than the WHO would like.

This lack of support and mixed messages are making the work of motherhood—something that is already deeply emotionally and mentally draining—even harder. The conversation about infant feeding should not be about supporting one type of infant feeding over another, it needs to be about supporting women in motherhood and in their choices. The cost of not doing so is staggering.

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News

"This time I'm really prepared," I think to myself as I board yet another plane with my now very active and mobile toddler. By the number of things I'm carrying you'd think I'm moving across the country, but actually, we are only going away for a few days. I have snacks, favorite toys, the lovey, books he likes us to read on repeat.

I will not have a screaming child on this flight. I. Will. Not.

Before I was a parent, I was one of those annoying passengers who would huff and puff when a baby started crying on a plane. I say this with full guilt because I cannot believe I was so mean. In my (tiny) defense, I used to travel A LOT for work and my time on the plane was either to catch up on sleep or decompress so the last thing I wanted to have was a screaming baby next to me.

But I am that mom now. And I wish I could go back in time and apologize to all those parents I gave nasty looks to in an attempt to make them feel bad. Because now I know, oh… I know.

Travel is annoying for everyone. Think about it: the waiting around the airport, the rushed boarding, everyone being grumpy as they try to fit their carry-ons in the overhead compartment, the tiny seats.

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Now, look at it from the perspective of a child. It's a new place, you can't really go anywhere, there are weird noises and smells and you are confined to a tiny tiny place you can't really explore. Plus, you have a bunch of strangers looking at you. And the pressure in their ears. It must be really confusing when you don't know what is happening.

Recently a mom in one of my Facebook groups asked if she should bring little candy bags with a note apologizing for her baby's cries to distribute to her seatmates on a plane. The answers were all the same: Don't. Because this is the thing, we can't go around life apologizing for our kids being kids and for us being the best parents we can be.

What I do distribute when I fly with my son is smiles. He starts screaming because I don't let him play with the tray table and someone gives me a look? I smile at them.

He gets cranky because he's trying to get comfortable to take that nap he wasn't able to because of a change in schedule? Yup, I smile.

I don't apologize, I try to not get frustrated. I just let everyone else know with my smile that "I know, toddlers are a handful huh?"

Most of the time it works, and if it doesn't, too bad for them.

What we need more of, though, is people helping out parents in stressful situations (like air travel, or any travel to be honest). I will never forget the flight attendant who gave me extra packs of cookies after seeing how into them my son was. Or the person who asked people to wait for the bathroom so I could cut the line and change him out of his blowout diaper.

I will be forever grateful to everyone that cooed and smiled and said hello to my son from the gate to baggage claim. I wish I could go back and thank the woman who held my son after she saw me fumble with all the bags and the stroller so I could get everything ready without him running away from me. This is what we need more of.

We parents already deal with tons of stress on a daily basis—are they eating enough, did they have enough playtime, are they having too much screen time, am I keeping them active enough?—that we don't need the judgment of passengers when we choose to (literally) embark on an adventure with our kids to show them the world.

So next time I travel without my son, I will be that helping hand for any parent I see. And mama, if your baby is crying, screaming and kicking on what seems like a never-ending flight, take a deep breath and smile at everyone around you, you will be landing soon.

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Life

Before my son was born, I had no idea how good my sleep life was. On the weekends especially, it wasn't unusual for me to sleep in until noon. Sometimes 1 pm if it was a really late night. (Anyone else ever finds themselves kind of hating envying their pre-mom selves? No? Just me? 🤷🏽♀️)

I remember being pregnant and everyone saying, "Get as much sleep as you can now." I knew that having a newborn meant sleep deprivation, but I felt like everyone was being so extreme in their advice to me. Yeah, you don't sleep, but they start sleeping through the night eventually right? Like at 2 months old, right?

(Oh, pre-mom me. You naive, sweet soul.)

Let's say those first two weeks home were truly eye-opening. Actually, literally eye-opening. Because it was a rare moment when I could actually close my eyes. The first night home was especially brutal.

I had not slept well in the hospital—not being able to get used to the low buzz of the hospital sounds, having random nurses or doctors come in and out of my room, and oh yeah, staring at this squishy little newborn alien that was now mine to take care of and be completely responsible for. (That thought alone is enough to keep any woman lying awake when she should be sleeping, regardless of her child's age.)

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So that first night home, I craved sleep. All my tired mind and sore body begged for was rest. In my own bed. For at least 12-14 hours straight. I went to bed earlier than I ever had before. The baby was sleeping soundly in his bassinet next to me and I thought it was my chance to catch up on what I was owed.

One hour later, the little one was crying and hungry. I popped out of bed to feed him. He settled down, I changed his diaper and got him back to sleep. Back to his bassinet. Back to my bed.


Thirty minutes later, it happened again. How can he possibly be hungry again? I thought. I stared at my husband and that's when we both realized we had a long night ahead of us.

The next morning (or really, what felt like the continuation of one very long day), I got up and wondered how I was going to do this. I hadn't slept. I felt like a shadow and my mind was as foggy as ever. I was walking around in what felt like a completely foreign postpartum body, and now my sleep-addled brain was going, too.

How do people 'mom' like this? I thought.

They just do, I would later realize.

Moms who are sleep-deprived just get through the day and do what they need to to keep their family's world—and their own—spinning on its axis.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, moms get up and make breakfast. They get their kids dressed for school, buckle them into their car seats and make it to pre-school dropoff on time.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, moms remember to bring their pump to work. They get dressed for the big meeting, pat each hair perfectly into place and walk into the building looking and acting like the boss they are.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, moms serve up the no-foam, double-shot mocha latte with Stevia instead of sugar the customer orders. They remember to hold the bread, serve the ranch on the side, and ask the cook if there are any peanuts in the recipe.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, mamas tame the tantrums. They soothe their 2-year-old in the middle of the aisle in Target during an epic meltdown and they still don't forget to grab the milk they went shopping for in the first place.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, mamas sing funny songs to make the baby laugh. They tickle chubby baby bellies, they rock their precious one to sleep for as long as it takes to see those soft baby eyelids flutter closed and content.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, mamas get themselves ready for that first day back at work from maternity leave. They sit at their computer facing a blank screen and know that they can do this today, even though they miss their baby desperately. Because they are ridiculously good at their job.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, moms change that 6th diaper of the day. They wipe up the 50th time the baby spits up. They put away the same toy for the 8th time that day.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, moms ask their friends or partner how their day was. They listen intently to the problem or great thing that happened and commiserate or celebrate accordingly.

Even though they're sleep deprived, moms rally to go out for girl's night. They answer the distraught message their best friend sent them—even if it is a day (or three) later. They cook up an extra meal for the neighbor who just had a baby.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, mamas check their babies' temperatures. They wait for fevers to break. They call the doctor in the middle of the night. They lay beside their children on tiny twin mattresses, offering comfort for stuffy noses and worn-out little bodies.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, mamas want to feel like themselves. So they stay up late. To get a little bit of me time and binge-watch Younger or The Bachelor or finish reading that novel or listen to that podcast that she'd heard such great things about.

Even though they're sleep-deprived, mamas push to check off everything on their to-do list. They squeeze in one more load of laundry or finish cleaning that last pile of dishes so it won't be waiting tomorrow. They go around the house checking windows and doors to make sure everyone is safe. They stay up worrying even though they desperately need to sleep.


As my newborn grew into the toddler he is now, I learned more and more what I could accomplish on two, three, four, hours of sleep. I became amazed—and still am—by what I see my fellow mamas and myself achieve.

Just imagine how much more we could get done on a full night's sleep.

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Maisonette is a go-to destination for high-quality baby and children's fashion and products, and they just launched their very own baby registry to make preparing for your new bundle of joy that much simpler. 🙌

When growing a family, functionality is just as important as style, but that doesn't mean you have to skimp on having a nursery that is beautiful, mama. The Maisonette Baby Registry offers endless registry essentials and exclusive products from layette bundles and teething sets to Moses baskets and knit clothing. Plus, they're featuring plenty of top-rated gear to cover you from newborn stages and beyond.

"With the introduction of the Maisonette Baby Registry, we wanted to create a one-stop destination for first time parents and parents expecting their second or third child—not just for what you need, but for the extra-special items that parents actually want," sais Sylvana Ward Durrett, co-founder and CEO of Maisonette

If you're a fan of the Maisonette aesthetic, you can now create a registry (or shop for another mama!) right on their website. Even better? They're collaborated with several influential mamas, like Daphne Oz, Diane Kruger, and Lily Aldridge so you can check out their very own registries for a little inspiration.

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We can't wait to look through the curated registry picks. 🎉

Shop the Maisonette Baby Registry

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