Why I happily do the 6 things I said I would never do as a parent

Like #5—Cook more than one dinner. You get what you get + you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?

Why I happily do the 6 things I said I would never do as a parent

Before I became a parent, I had certain ideas of what kind of a mother I wanted to be (don’t we all?) Those ideas were vague initially, but nonetheless I had a long list of things I would NEVER do. I wasn’t going to be a servant to my kids. There would be rules and those rules would be followed.

Easy as pie, right?

Pre-kids, if I were a good mum, these are things I would never, ever do.

1. Give in to their begging for sweets.

I will not be blackmailed by a 3 foot tyrant!

2. Follow them around the house trying to get them to eat.

If you are hungry, you’ll eat sitting down at the table like a normal person!

3. Get drawn into their fashion demands.

You are 3 years old, you’ll wear what I tell you to wear!

4. Co-Sleep.

What do you think I bought your crib for? I painted your room in Bubblegum Blue for goodness sake. That’s where you will sleep. That’s what the book says.

5. Cook more than one dinner.

You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?

6. Coddle past the age of 5.

That’s the cut off. After that I have expectations of self-sufficiency. Maybe you could get yourself a part-time job or something…?

...but then I actually had kids. And that’s when things changed. My parenting ideals got shaken up when theory met reality. The more kids came along, the more the rules went out the window, and the more I free-styled (which was part choice, part necessity.)

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And I ate my previous words about what I would never do.

1. I gave into the begging.

Go on. Just say “pleeeeeeeeeeease” again with that cute face and big smile of yours. I know you are trying so hard to win me over. You win.

2. I really want him to eat his food.

So, yes, I have run after my baby—bowl and spoon in hand—when he refuses to sit in his high chair. Because in theory, the more my little guy eats, the longer he will sleep. So mama will do what she needs to do to get that food into him.

3. I don’t stress about what he wears.

Unless it has Minions, Batman or Turtles on it, my son won’t wear it. He has his own ideas of what he likes and how he wants to look. I’ve tried to enforce that what I say goes, but another very important lesson in the parenting game is “pick your battles.”

4. We co-sleep.

We have co-slept with all of our children. By choice. Then choice became habit. While there are days where I wish we had our bed to ourselves and that one of us wouldn’t always end up in the spare room or on the floor, I know this is for a short time. This isn’t going to last forever and I know that we are all happy with co-sleeping, and most importantly, we’re all getting sleep. So it works for us!

5. I’ve been cooking more than one dinner for the best part of my parenting tenure.

I have two very fussy eaters and have tried the approach of “You’ll eat what everyone is eating” and failed. So, I make multiple dinners. (Remember that “pick your battles” thing?) Now one of my fussy eaters is nearly 5 and I can reason with her. I can tell her about food and the importance of eating her vegetables. She gets that now and we are on the way to one meal for the whole family. (Can I get a whoop whoop please?!)

6. I coddle all of my kids.

Guilty as charged. I will stand outside the shower, holding the towel for my kids. I will make sure their hair is brushed and that they change their socks. I will clean up after all my kids and do their jobs for them. Maybe one day I’ll start putting my foot down, but for now, I’m doing what works for us.

As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. And so you probably won’t understand the allure of co-sleeping or letting your child pick out his out outfit himself until you’re in the thick of it with your little ones. And that’s okay, because there’s a learning curve to this motherhood thing.

These lessons have taught me a thing or two. For one, maybe all of these “parenting mistakes” aren’t really mistakes at all.

Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves, trust our instincts, and do what we feel is right for us and our families at any particular point in time.

Maybe these “mistakes” can teach us how to enjoy riding the waves of parenting; embracing all the ups and downs for what they are without the need to constantly second guess ourselves.

Everything we do in life, we do by choice. It is okay to back down from the society-imposed or self-imposed parenting expectations out there and instead do what is best for us, for our family, and for our children.

No one else knows what we know. No one else knows our children like we do. No one else is walking in our shoes.

All that matters is that we care about our children and that’s why we walk the extra mile bent over backwards to make sure we give them all they need…and much, much more.

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


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


5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


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


I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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