A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Most days of motherhood sound something like this: The clothes in my dryer have been there for at least two days (and I've already run the “wrinkle release" setting half a dozen times). My hair is three days dirty. My daughter's onesie still bears remnants of breakfast. Sometimes I've worked out...and sometimes I'm still in my pajamas at 3 p.m. Sometimes lunch is a mix of organic fruits and veggies with grilled chicken. Sometimes it's a frozen pizza. (Both are delicious.) The coffee in my mug is almost always cold. (That's what microwaves are for, right?)

Motherhood is rarely the perfect, Instagram-worthy moment I dreamt about before my baby was born. Some days, it's frustrating. Most days, it's messy. Every day, it challenges me in ways I never expected.

But for every diaper-blowout, volcanic-tantrum, screaming-standoff moment, there are thousands that, while imperfect, simply take my breath away.

Celebrate every day of motherhood with our friends at Hallmark Baby.

Because the messy moments can be beautiful too.

Whether we're ankle deep in blocks after spending half an hour constructing a castle or I'm scrubbing crayon marks off the table after an intense coloring session has gone awry, I'm consistently in awe of this tiny person's creativity and imagination.

They're the moments that don't make it to any social media feed because they're surrounded by piles of half folded laundry and dishes from last night's dinner, but they're the memories I cherish when I think back to how my daughter's character has developed over the past few months. These moments of mess are the mama rites of passage that bind us all and show us what we're made of.

Because the frustrating moments can be empowering too.

Motherhood is a constant test of humility, whether it's reminding me that I can't control everything (or, really, very much most days) or pushing me to think quickly on my feet when my tried-and-true solutions suddenly stop working.

I'm not going to start bragging about my daughter's 15-minute tantrum in the mall any time soon, but I revel in the moments after, when screams have calmed to whimpers and we hold each other in the car as we calm down. Then those big, round eyes look up at me and she finally smiles. I can finally release that exasperated breath I've been holding and take solace that, bit by bit, we are figuring this out together.

Because the loud moments can be peaceful too.

Yelling, clattering toys, and singing at top of lungs are the soundtrack of our life right now. There are days when, yes, I would love just a minute of quiet. A moment to catch my breath and close my eyes for a bit of zen--only to have my reverie interrupted by another suspicious clash from the next room.

But when I learn to embrace the chaos, to add my own voice to the cacophony as we dance around the kitchen in silly moves of our own making, I realize that these are the moments that make it all worth it. These are the moments I will miss the most when my child is grown and my house is suddenly all too quiet for my liking. So I throw my head back and let my own belly laughs mix with her giggles, so blissfully aware that these are the best sounds in the world.

An adorable toy from the newest collection at Hallmark Baby.

Because the hard moments can be comforting too.

This mama life can be lonely. It can feel like the challenges will never end and like the weight of it all is settled squarely on my shoulders. But for each moment of lonely heartbreak, I find myself presented with just as many opportunities to take in love around me.

Whether it's my mama tribe that never lets me feel alone for long, or my husband who is at the ready to shower me with love and encouragement, or even my own daughter who never lets a day go by without giving me more kisses and hugs than I could count, our lives are so rich with love.

It isn't perfect. My child isn't perfect. I'm certainly not perfect. But the moments we create together and will remember forever—those are pretty perfect to me.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

Keep reading... Show less

If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.

The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

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.

You might also like:

Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

Keep reading... Show less
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.