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Stress seems to lie around every corner. It is there when change happens to us or when we are up against the things we cannot change. From the losses that are part of life to our unmet needs, how were we meant to find a way through?


Resilience is the capacity to return to optimal functioning after stress or to thrive under duress.
—Gordon Neufeld

While we can’t avoid the ups and downs in life, we can harness the body’s natural way of healing and bounce back. The question is how do we do this and how do we set our children up to do the same?

The key to resilience is to realize that it cannot be found by “pitting our head against our heart,” as Neufeld states. It has always been our hearts that hold the secrets to healing. The problem is we have gotten lost in thinking that the mind holds all the answers when we are faced with problems. We lose sight that adversity will take us on an emotional journey, and our feelings need to take the wheel in helping us find a way through.

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There is a difference between true resilience and false resilience.

False resilience arises when our emotions are suppressed and no longer become conscious or deeply felt. With false resilience, there is an absence of feelings and the ‘calm’ exterior lulls us into thinking that perhaps we are okay and indeed resilient. It allows a child to function at school despite stress or an adult to show up at work and do a job. The problem is, a hardened heart is like scar tissue, it isn’t very flexible nor does it feel very much.

True resilience is noisy. It is full of feelings that can be big and upsetting. You can hear it in the healthy teenager as they go through their final passage into adulthood and speak of the emptiness, fear, loneliness, or the insecurity they feel. You can hear it in the new parent who is wondering why they have so many emotions flooding them like alarm, frustration, and sadness as they take care of little people they love dearly.

False resilience stems from the absence of emotion whereas true resilience is about being hardy or of much heart. Resilience requires more feeling, not less.

If we are to play a role in our children unfolding as resilient beings, we will need to play caretaker to their heart.

We don’t need to chase them away or have them run away from their big feelings. We don’t need to toughen them up or suggest “not to let themselves get down” or that they “need to pick themselves up.”

It is the emotional mending of what has been broken that paves the way to being able to thrive and bounce back.

The problem is that when stress overwhelms or floods us, there are too many things to focus on or to feel. Our emotions are stirred up and they get busy trying to fix the challenges we face. A child can cling to a parent when it’s time to leave for school, or a teen can refuse to talk about something because it hurts more when they do.

The brain jumps into action when we are full of emotion, and feelings are a luxury. Feelings are the emotions we can catch hold of, cry tears to and make room for. But when we are overloaded, we have “more emotion and less feeling,” as Neufeld states.

We struggle to embrace the emotional journeys that come with stress, and we have lost sight of how important they are to take our children on. The problem is we seem so scared of emotions that come big and strong in times of stress. We worry they will take us down the dark holes that are part of life, and we will never get back up.

We think we have to kick and scream and crawl our way out of the tunnels in life, rather than to see that there has always been something to carry us through them. Resilience is an emotional journey and our emotions were meant to carry us forward when we no longer know the way.

It isn’t the absence of vulnerable feelings that make us strong, but our capacity to embrace the ones that we have.

We have lost the keys to opening the heart at the time when we need it the most. We have become lost in our heads and believe thinking things out holds the ultimate answer. Reason doesn’t hold the answer when our heart is hurt.

Resiliency isn’t a set of skills to learn nor is it a list of statements we tell our kids to write out and repeat. Resilience doesn’t come from a script, a worksheet or talking yourself into happy feelings either. The idea that we have to force healing down a particular path doesn’t understand the inherent capacity in humans to heal.

We need to embrace our feelings and allow what nature has given us to be able to journey through the stress and adversity that is part of our life.

We need to help our children express the sadness that will be there when things don’t go their way.

We need to open channels for expression through play and free the muses to draw out their feelings through music, paint, dance, song, or clay. We can encourage them to tell us their stories and to “replay” all that has happened, says Neufeld.

What we all need most of all on emotional journey’s are people who can come alongside our feelings.

It is the people we hold onto at times of unrest, who carry us through our strong emotions. Our relationships provide an illusion of safety in the midst of all the things that don’t feel right. When we are in doubt about our chances of a safe return to well being, it is our relationships that can guide us and say hold onto me. Our relationships are also what give us hope and help us believe that we are indeed strong enough to carry the heavy load we feel.

It is a parent’s belief in a child that helps them feel there is a way out of it all.

When I think of the big things in my life that have had to be faced, it is people I am most attached to who have anchored me the most. They have become embedded in those emotional journeys. They are the people who helped keep my heart soft and helped me endure, despite feelings of despair.

And like all journeys, once you have traveled somewhere, you are never the same again. You become forever transformed by the things you see on the way, the experiences you have, and the emotions that are felt.

Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backward.
—Søren Kierkegaard

While you are in the midst of the emotional journey, it is not important to make sense of it all or to have the pieces all fit together. Rather, it is important to embrace the process of the emotional let down, and to use nature’s system to help release the emotions that need to come out. And it is important to rest from trying to make things different.

If we can do this for our kids, they will realize that healing wasn’t something we had to invent, wasn’t something we had to learn or something we had to work hard at or force. Rather, healing is something we have to release ourselves to. We already have inside of us the ingredients to allow healing to occur, we just need someone to go on the emotional journey with us.

As parents, we can set the stage for the feelings and the play to help our children.

Emotions are not a nuisance, they are nature’s ways of taking care of us. It is our feelings that carry us when faced with the challenges that life presents. The more we make room for them, feel them, play with them, the more they can do their healing on us.

The challenges in life must be embraced, but we all need someone to lean on. There could be no greater gift to our kids, nor no better message to leave them with.

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It's time to go shopping for your little ones mama. Not long ago we shared the super sale on Hunter boots for us moms, and now the super colorful and water proof boots are on sale for kids! Perfect timing as Spring is approaching and there will be a lot of puddle jumping in our futures.

The sale is up to 50% off in select styles, but in all the colors of the rainbow! We don't know how long the sale will last so act fast because some sizes are already on low stock!


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The original grab handle boot in light blue

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Chelsea boot in yellow 

Original Big Kids' Gloss Chelsea Boots

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The original grab handle boot in pink

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Jessica Simpson's life seems perfect. She has three beautiful kids, a wildly successful career, a seemingly solid marriage...she has it all, at least as far as we can see. But recent revelations prove that no one really knows what anyone else is secretly dealing with—and Jessica, by her own admission, has been struggling with alcohol issues.

The singer-turned-business-woman recently sat down with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, and it will air on NBC's TODAY Wednesday morning.

"I had started a spiral and I couldn't catch up with myself…and that was with alcohol," Jessica explained. "I would say it openly to everyone. 'I know. I know, I'll stop soon. I'll cut back'," Jessica continued when asked if she realized things were getting out of control. "For me to cut back, like I'm an all or nothing girl, and so I didn't know it was a problem until it was...I completely didn't recognize myself…I always had a glitter cup. It was always filled to the rim with alcohol."

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She's hardly alone. The rise of #winemom phenomenon is well documented and many parents struggle with substance abuse problems. But Simpson's story proves there is a way to get your life back.

Simpson quit drinking in 2017 after she found herself unable to get her kids ready for a Halloween party. She says she'd started drinking before 7:30 in the morning, before accompanying her husband, Eric Johnson, to a school assembly for their oldest daughter. Later that night she was unable to get her kids dressed in their Halloween costumes. The next morning she was so ashamed. Feeling like she had failed her kids she slept until they left the house, then got up and drank some more.

That episode was her tipping point. She quit drinking (as did her husband, Eric Johnson, who supports her in her sobriety.)



As parents, we know how overwhelming the demands can be...and how easy it is to sink into habits that don't ultimately serve us well. For Jessica, the way to heal was to sever her relationship with alcohol.

"I had to give [drinking] up," Jessica said. "I'm not going to miss another day. I'm not going to miss another Halloween. I'm not going to miss another Christmas. I'm going to be present."

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Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$150

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$34.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$99.99

Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$178

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$34.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$99.99

Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.

$69.95

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!

$99

Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$30.99

Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$159.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$69.99

Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.

$159.99

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

$70

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.

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So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

Life
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