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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.

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.

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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.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Sometimes it can feel like toys are a mama's frenemy. While we love the idea of entertaining our children and want to give them items that make them happy, toys can end up taking the joy out of our own motherhood experience. For every child begging for another plastic figurine, there's a mama who spends her post-bedtime hours digging toys out from under the couch, dining room table and probably her own bed.

Like so many other moms, I've often found myself between this rock and hard place in parenting. I want to encourage toys that help with developmental milestones, but struggle to control the mess. Is there a middle ground between clutter and creative play?

Enter: Lovevery.

lovevery toys

Lovevery Play Kits are like the care packages you wish your child's grandparent would send every month. Expertly curated by child development specialists, each kit is crafted to encourage your child's current developmental milestones with beautiful toys and insightful activity ideas for parents. A flip book of how-tos and recommendations accompanies each box, giving parents not only tips for making the most of each developmental stage, but also explaining how the games and activities benefit those growing brains.

Even better, the toys are legitimately beautiful. Made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials materials and artfully designed, I even find myself less bothered when my toddler leaves hers strewn across the living room floor.

What I really love, though, is that the kits are about so much more than toys. Each box is like a springboard of imaginative, open-ended play that starts with the included playthings and expands into daily activities we can do during breakfast or while driving to and from lessons. For the first time, I feel like a company isn't just trying to sell me more toys―they're providing expert guidance on how to engage in educational play with my child. And with baby kits that range from age 0 to 12 months and toddler kits for ages 13 to 24 months, the kits are there for me during every major step of development I'll encounter as a new mama.

So maybe I'll never love toys―but I will always love spending time with my children. And with Lovevery's unique products, mixing those worlds has become child's play.


This article was sponsored by Lovevery. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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One hour.

That's all this summer goal requires. It requires pretty much no planning or bucket list-making or thought, other than keeping your eyes open for opportunity. This hour will find you.

I figured out the impact of this hour when we spent last weekend at a water park while my son played lacrosse. Going back and forth from game to hotel water park all weekend left us feeling disjointed and exhausted. It was lots of fun, but I was just tired at the end of it. Every bone in my body couldn't wait to get home.

My kids, however, who can run all day and still not be tired, really wanted just one more hour in the water park. This meant I'd have to put on my bathing suit. We had to check out of our room, so if we stayed, we'd have to change in the damp, icky changing area. My hair would be wet. The water park was so loud. Not one thing about the idea of staying sounded appealing to me.

But still, they wanted to stay. They looked at us with hopeful eyes, begging for the fun to continue. Pretty much every other family was headed home. But we made a decision that changed how I am looking at my whole summer – and, really, how I'm looking at how my role as a parent.

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We stayed the extra hour. I am not exaggerating when I say it made all the difference.

I dug deep and decided I was going to be Fun Mom for an hour. I could have been Sit-in-a-chair-and-half-heartedly-watch-their-antics Mom for an hour, but I decided that would be a waste. If I wasn't going home, I was going to really be there for an hour. I was going to get my hair wet and not complain. For one hour, I was basically going to be a kid.

And it was So. Much. Fun.

I realized how important this hour was about 10 minutes in, when I found myself racing up the steps of the kiddie water slide area, chasing after Sam, plotting how I could adjust my way of sliding to finally beat him in our water slide race. I was ALL IN at that moment.

When I said I would slide with him, Sam's eyes lit right up and his little arms shot up in the air with a giant “YES!" He wanted to have fun with me. In that moment, I was not just Fun Mom. I was Fun Amy.

Having fun with your kids allows you to see them in a whole new light. I watched Sam use his God-given giant load of energy to run and run and run and embrace that hour, so much that I think he may be a fun genius.

I watched Kate fearlessly whip down water slides that made me scream like a baby. She held my hand. She was the one who was brave. She had no fear, and her fierce independence and determination made me feel lucky to be her friend for an hour.

I watched Thomas take Sam under his wing when it was his turn for slide races. I watched him teach Sam new water tricks and happily play in the kiddie area with reckless abandon, being kind and awesome to his brother at every turn.

I watched Ellie and Lily with their arms around each other, best friends for this sacred hour. I went down sides with each of them and floated through the lazy river as we all chatted, without a care in the world.

I held Todd's hand and rode down a slide with him in a double tube, just like in our dating days, our kids watching from behind, rolling their eyes with huge grins on their faces, hopefully seeing that marriage is more than making lunches and carting them around – that marriage is having actual fun with each other.

Spend the hour, my friends.

This hour reminded me how awesome it is to be the fun mom, to just be human with your kids. It reminded me how amazing it can be to say yes.

Sure, I could have used that hour to start on the massive pile of laundry we brought home. And full disclosure: We pushed ourselves to the point that there was plenty of super tired whining and complaining when we drove home. That hour could have saved us from having to stop for a little treat on the way home because now dinner was too far away. The house might have been cleaner and my people fed on time and in bed earlier had we not spent the hour.

But the laundry and the whining and the feeding of the people will always be there. That hour of fun was not only priceless. It was fleeting, like a feather in the wind we could catch if we tried. And we did.

Your hour may not be water park fun. This may sound like sheer torture to you. But your hour can be anything. And seriously, it's just an hour. We can do anything for an hour.

Thinking back, I remember my parents taking this same hour with us. My dad raced from roller coaster to roller coaster with my more adventurous siblings. My mom became more fun than any teenage shopping buddy we had. They spent the time. They took the hour. And we have amazing family memories because of it.

Life tries to drum that hour out of us. It tries to make us believe that getting stuff done is the ultimate prize. I am all for folded laundry and an empty sink and kids who are asleep at bedtime. But don't let life keep you from taking an hour here and there.

Find what you love, share it with your kids, say yes even when every bone in your old and weary body says no. Let your kids hear you scream like a kid going down a water slide. Get your hair wet. Eat ice cream for dinner. Play a family game of tag at the park as the sun goes down.

Show your kids you are more than a task master who cares too much about beds being made. Show them that you are not just the adult who wants them to entertain themselves at the water park while you sit in a hot tub (although I did that this weekend, too, and it was amazing).

Show them that family is fun, and that fun can actually come first. Show them the kid in you. It will bond you together in a whole new way.

Make it your goal this summer to take the hour. Those moments will make all the difference. And it's the moments that will change your family forever.

This post was originally published on Hiding in the Closet with Coffee.

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Breastfeeding is not easy. But neither is weaning. That's why this powerful photo from Brazilian mama Maya Vorderstrasse is going viral. Her husband captured the first time she ever breastfed their second daughter and next to it, almost two years later, the last time she fed their daughter from her breast.

And it's not just the photo that is powerful. In her caption Maya shares her emotional struggles with weaning and the tricks they used to make this transition easier for their youngest daughter. The caption reads:

"The first and last time my precious daughter ever nursed.

I didn't know that one person could feel so proud and so broken at the same time, right now I am a hormonal, emotional, and mental mess.

Raising my arm in this picture was very difficult for me as I had to fight through uncontrollable tears: this picture meant that I would never breastfeed my daughter ever again. I have been nursing for so long, that I don't know what it's like to not nurse anymore.



As I looked behind the camera, my husband is crying like I had never seen him cry before, like seriously, a deep gut cry. I was her comfort, her safe place, and I hope she still finds me that way. A month shy of 2 years old, she finally has a bed in a shared bedroom with her sister. We bought her her first bed, used any distraction we could come up with, snacks and new toys to keep her mind off of it.

My husband has taken over bedtime completely, including all nighttime wakings. We are on our third day, and every day gets a little bit easier. The guilt I feel for not putting her to bed is so intense and I can't wait to go back to it once she doesn't ask to nurse anymore. Closing a chapter is painful, but I am hopeful that this new season of our lives will also be special in its own way.

Through this maturation step she will not only grow more independent, but I will get a much needed break. She unlatched for the last time and sobbingly I said to my husband: "I did my best". He hugged me and responded with: "No. You did THE best, because you gave her your all". I love my family and am so thankful for such special and unforgettable moments like these. 💛

*my lazy boob has no clue about what's going on, but thoughts and prayers are accepted for my good one, I really think it might explode🤱🏻

**thank you to my husband, for insisting on filming this, I will treasure this forever.🤳🏼👩"

You've got this mama!

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If you're looking for basics for the kids for summer, you're in luck, mama. Primary clothes don't have logos or sparkles—they're classic prints and colors that can easily transition from one kid to the next. And this week, Primary is celebrating the new season with a major summer sale.

Items, like swimsuits, dresses, polos and more, are over 50% off. Most pieces are under $10 so you can stock up on an entire new wardrobe without breaking the budget.

Here's what we're adding to our carts—shop the entire sale here:

1. Baby rainbow stripe rash guard

With UPF 50, you can rest easy knowing baby has extra protection outdoors.

$14.50

SHOP

2. The track short

The easy pull-on waist will make outfit changes a breeze.

$10.50

SHOP

3. Rainbow stripe one-piece

Cute? Check. Will stay in place? Check. UPF 50? Check.

$18.00

SHOP

4. The short sleeve twirly dress

Made of 100% cotton jersey, this one will be a staple all summer long.

$10.00

SHOP

5. The polo babysuit

Perfect to dress up or down.

$8.00

SHOP

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Being an adult is no joke. Beyond dressing ourselves and our kids and, ya know, feeding and bathing the family, there are so many other things that life throws at us. And because we're adults, we have to take care of these myriad to-dos. Welcome to: Adulting!

I'm not just talking about laundry, filling up the gas tank and stocking the fridge with groceries, but those tasks that always get pushed back. Getting life insurance. Refinancing your loan debt. (Students loans? Us, too.) Signing up for marriage counseling.

But guess what? These seemingly heavy-lift tasks are now a whole lot easier and faster to tackle. Here's how to check off your most tedious adulting chores.

The life insurance

When you're single with no descendants, life insurance might not seem like a top priority. But when you suddenly have a kid (or three), setting your family up for financial success is a must. And thanks to Ladder, obtaining a policy isn't the taxing, cringe-inducing process it used to be! It's modern and easy to use—seriously, you can even sign up for a policy from your phone or tablet. Ladder makes it possible to obtain a policy in under five minutes. Yes, really. See? No need to procrastinate!

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The student loan redux

You have the degree and the career and you also have the debt. And like us, you're likely just paying your monthly minimums without considering refinancing your student loans—because that sounds hard and complicated. Laurel Road simplifies the process. You can check your rates in only a few minutes (and don't worry, doing so won't impact to your credit score!).

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The marriage counselor

Did you know that 66% of couples report a drop in marital satisfaction when baby arrives? It's not surprising that an infant can cause stress for mama, but all that pressure can affect your relationship, too. Taking the time to really invest in marriage counseling often falls to the bottom of the to-do lists because of the many hurdles—finding a therapist, traveling to appointments, the cost of copays or out-of-pocket fees, the stigma around it all. With Lasting, however, you and your partner pair your apps and can begin working on your relationship together on your own timeline.

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Motherly is your daily #momlife manual. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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