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For moms with young children, getting out the door in the morning can be the most challenging part of the day. But what if there was a way to remove the stress and streamline your morning—simply by changing what you say?

The power of positive parenting (and a great pair of shoes your kids love) can get you there. We partnered with Rack Room Shoes and Wendy Snyder, founder of Fresh Start Family Online, a Positive Parenting teacher and family coach, to create these 15 phrases that can help avoid morning clashes, finally get their shoes on and get you all out the door in peace.

WATCH: 5 easy school morning hacks

1. “Team __________, Unite and Engage!”

Take a break from: "Get in the car, NOW!"

Example: "Team Snyder Stars, Unite and Engage! The time to conquer on time arrival to school is now!"

Explained: In a calm time (not when you're rushed), explain how your family is a small, but mighty team, who together can accomplish anything you set your minds to. Then choose a fun team name and reference it to get everyone fired up to contribute and succeed.

2. “Remember our agreement about our morning plan?”

Take a break from: "I am so sick of having to do everything for you, get up and make your bed or else... !"

Example: "Hey guys, remember last night when we agreed we'd all do our part to have a peaceful morning instead of a stressful tear-filled start to our day? What did we all agree to do this morning?"

Explained: Kids do really well with agreements, especially if they have a strong need to feel powerful (a healthy human need that many strong-willed kids have). Involving our kids with agreements helps them to feel valued and feel like they belong (2 basic human needs). Positive parenting curriculum, like that found in The Foundations Course, teaches parents that when our children's basic needs are met, their desire to misbehave decreases.

3. “I need your help! I can’t do this alone. Can you please give me a hand?”

Take a break from: "There is NO WAY I'm going to raise entitled kids who don't do their part. Get up and do what you're told now."

Example: "Kiddos, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed right now and need everyone to chip in and help so we can have a peaceful departure."

Explained: When we are honest with our kids and let them know that we NEED their help to get out the door on time, we help them understand what true teamwork looks like. Most kids respond incredibly well when they are asked in a kind way to help. The key is to kindly ask with a vulnerable heart vs. demand with rigidity.

Another way to help them feel ownership without added pressure? Let them pick their shoes. With Rack Room Shoes' assortment of colorful styles your kids will love to put them on each morning, Choose a style like slip-ons or with closures like elastic laces or velcro) that they can do themselves—one thing off your to-do list, mama!

4. “Everyone has a job, let’s do this family... we’ve got this!”

Take a break from: "I'm so sick of doing everything, why can't you just do what's asked of you, so we can get out the door?"

Example: "Stella, you are great at encouraging us to not be late and Terrin you are always good at keeping us laughing. Mom will pack lunches, Dad will walk the pup, Stella, you watch the clock and Terrin, please be the music DJ. We need to be pulling away at 7 am family—we've got this!"

Explained: Helping kids feel powerful causes them to cooperate with us because they want to, not because they HAVE to. When we explain how they each add unique value to our family, our kids feel empowered and capable of helping the family reach goals (like getting out the door peacefully!).

5. “Stop, breathe, now try again, what do you need support with?”

Take a break from: "Stop whining and just get your shoes on so we can leave! I can't understand you when you talk like a baby."

Example: "Michael, let's pause and breathe together (actually pausing to model deep breaths)... now tell me what you need support with so I can help you."

Explained: Getting out the door each morning can be stressful for us all, so take a moment to slow down and use empathy to imagine what it must feel like to be your little person who is seeing the world as rushed, overwhelming, frustrating and hard. Offer support to guide them onward so they can move through the steps necessary to get out the door on time!

To avoid morning meltdowns, give them a choice between two things (like their sandals or their sneakers). They still feel some control over getting out the door, but it will take a lot less time than rifling through their entire closet. Plus, with Rack Room Shoes family friendly prices, it's easy to give everyone a few options.

6. “Would you like to sit down now and have time to eat breakfast at the table or continue to play for 10 minutes and eat your breakfast in the car?”

Take a break from: "I'm not going to tell you again, sit down and eat NOW or no screen time tonight!"

Example: "We need to leave at 7 am AND we need to eat breakfast, so you can either eat your breakfast at the table or in the car, which one do you choose?"

Explained: Kids have lots they want to do before school or camp, so use this opportunity to teach them about time management and also about being flexible with the rules. Putting breakfast in tupperware or giving them a simple granola bar and banana on the way to school can save you from a lot of "trying to force a sit down breakfast" power struggles!

7. “We need to kick it into high gear, should we move fast like a racehorse or speedy like a fire truck driver?"

Take a break from: "Why do you dilly dally so much? Stop dragging your feet, you are driving me nuts!"

Example: "It's 'go time' family, do you want to be a racehorse or fire truck driver to get us to the car fast?"

Explained: Children absolutely love playful analogies so use animals, race cars, fire trucks, athletes & cartoon characters to motivate them!

8. “Have you finished your chart?”

Take a break from: "Put your shoes on, brush your teeth, make your bed, fill up your water bottle, pack your bag, pick up your room, etc."

Example: "Please go check your morning chart and see what you still need to do."

Explained: Studies have shown that by the time kids get to elementary school, they often are given up to 1,000 compliance statements a day. This definitely wears on kids, especially kids who have a strong desire to lead. In a calm time, make a "morning routine chart" with your kids and use pictures or writing to list out the steps necessary for everyone to get out the door each morning on time!

9. “It’s important to me we are on time, so I need everyone to do their part to help us be successful.”

Take a break from: "If we're late one more time, I am NOT going to be happy!"

Example: "I care about arriving to school before the bell rings because I feel embarrassed when we have to go through the office, so I need your help so we can be there on time."

Explained: When we honestly share WHY we have firm rules around morning departure times, our kids are more likely to respect our boundaries and requests. Take the time to explain to them why being on time is important to you and respect for the timeline will come more naturally!

10. “I’m going to start the car and get the Moana soundtrack going. Grab your shoes and meet me there!”

Take a break from: "If you don't walk out the front door right now, so help me, things are going to get really ugly!"

Example: "I'm all ready, so I'll meet you in the car. I'll get the music and A/C going."

Explained: Oftentimes, more action, fewer words will get us great results with getting our children to get out of the house. This can work really well when you feel yourself butting heads with your child and want to avoid a full-blown power struggle with them. This takes patience, but it's a great way to get kids to move without nagging, yelling, threatening, or forcing them to comply.

11. “Can you please be in charge of the clock?"

Take a break from: "I have to do everything around here and I'm sick of being the time police, I said NOW!"

Example: "Mary, you love being on time as much as me, could you please be the boss of the clock and give us a whistle or chime the bell when it's 6:55 am?"

Explained: Putting kids in charge and giving them big jobs causes many kids to listen better and cooperate more. Children love to lead and when given the opportunity to help, they love to do so!

12. “Shoes, please,” (with kind physical touch & friendly eye contact), then, “car, please

Take a break from: "I've asked you three times now to get on your shoes... why can't you just put on your shoes like a big boy, you're 5 years old and should be able to put on your shoes without me asking you a gazillion times."

Example: "Breakfast." or "Teeth."

Explained: Reducing our verbal communication and combining our words with a neutral tone and soft physical touch often does wonders to inspire our kids to take action!

13. “Do you guys think we can beat our 'out the door time' from last week?”

Take a break from: "Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up!"

Example: "I'll push go on the iPhone timer, do you think we can all get in the car faster than we did yesterday? Under 5 minutes after we finish breakfast?"

Explained: Kids love games and learn incredibly well through play! Without creating competition amongst one another, time yourself as a team, then try daily to beat your own time.

Looking for more advice? Step into a Rack Room Shoes store near you or shop online. With a "Buy One, Get One 50% off" policy, you can make sure the whole family will put their best foot forward this back-to-school season.

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

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When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot. Time to wash—and dry!—your hair. A complete wardrobe refresh.


While we can't help with everything on your list (we're still trying to figure out how to get some extra zzz's ourselves), here are 14 gift ideas that'll make you look, if not feel, like a whole new woman. Even when you're sleep deprived.

Gap Cable-Knit Turtleneck Sweater

When winter hits, one of our go-to outfits will be this tunic-length sweater and a pair of leggings. Warm and everyday-friendly, we can get behind that.

$69.95

Gap Cigarette Jeans

These high-waisted straight-leg jeans have secret smoothing panels to hide any lumps and bumps (because really, we've all got 'em).

$79.95

Tiny Tags Gold Skinny Bar Necklace

Whether engraved with a child's name or date of birth, this personalized necklace will become your go-to piece of everyday jewelry.

$135.00

Gap Brushed Pointelle Crew

This wear-with-anything soft pink sweater with delicate eyelet details can be dressed up for work or dressed down for weekend time with the family. Versatility for the win!

$79.95

Gap Flannel Pajama Set

For mamas who sleep warm, this PJ set offers the best of both worlds: cozy flannel and comfy shorts. Plus, it comes with a coordinating eye mask for a blissed-out slumber.

$69.95

Spafinder Gift Card

You can't give the gift of relaxation, per say, but you can give a gift certificate for a massage or spa service, and that's close enough!

$50.00

Gap Stripe Long Sleeve Crewneck

This featherweight long-sleeve tee is the perfect layering piece under hoodies, cardigans, and blazers.

$29.95

Gap Chenille Smartphone Gloves

Gone are the days of removing toasty gloves before accessing our touchscreen devices—thank goodness!

$9.95

Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug

Make multiple trips to the microwave a thing of the past with a app-controlled smart mug that'll keep your coffee or tea at the exact temperature you prefer for up to an hour.

$79.95

Gap Flannel Shirt

Our new favorite flannel boasts an easy-to-wear drapey fit and a flattering curved shirttail hem.

$59.95

Gap Sherpa-Lined Denim Jacket

Stay warm while looking cool in this iconic jean jacket, featuring teddy bear-soft fleece lining and a trendy oversized fit.

$98.00

Gap Crazy Stripe Scarf

Practical and stylish, this cozy scarf adds a pop of color—well, colors—to any winter ensemble.

$39.95

Nixplay Seed Frame

This digital picture frame is perfect for mamas who stay up late scrolling through their phone's photo album to glimpse their kiddos being adorable. By sending them to this smart frame to view throughout the day, you can get a few extra minutes of sleep at night!

$165.00

Gap Crewneck Sweater

Busy mamas will appreciate that this supersoft, super versatile Merino wool sweater is machine washable.

$59.95

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

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There's a lot of discussion about the importance of early education—but what about soft skills like respect and kindness? How can mamas teach children important values like cooperation, gratitude, empathy or politeness?

These values are basic, foundational beliefs that help us know right from wrong, that give balance and meaning to life and that enable us to form community bonds with one another. These soft skills are crucial for kids to learn at any age, and it's important for them to be reinforced, both in the classroom and at home, throughout their childhood.

Here are fundamental ways to build character in your young children:

Kindness

Performing random acts of kindness can have a positive influence on both the individual showing and receiving the kindness. As a family, think of ways that each one of you can show kindness to others. Some ideas may include baking cookies for the mail carrier, donating an unopened toy to a local charity, purchasing canned goods for a homeless shelter or leaving notes and drawings for the neighbors. Include your child in the process so they can see firsthand the joy that kindness can bring to others.

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Responsibility

Children have a strong desire to mimic adult family members. Encourage your child to help complete simple chores in and around the house. Children feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can do their share and feel that sense of responsibility. Two-year-olds will enjoy folding towels, putting books away, putting paper in the recycling box and tending to the garden. Older children may enjoy helping out in the kitchen or with yard work.

Patience

Patience is the ability to demonstrate self-control while waiting for an event to occur. It also refers to the ability to remain calm in the face of frustration. This is a skill which develops in children as they mature. While it is important to practice patience, adults should also be realistic in their expectations, evaluate daily routines and eliminate long periods of wait time from the schedule.

Politeness

Schedule a time when the whole family can sit down together for dinner. Model good manners and encourage older siblings and other members of the family to do the same. Use phrases such as, "Can you please pass the potatoes?" or "Thank you." Be sure to provide your child with guidance, by explaining what to do as opposed to what not to do.

Flexibility

Change your routines at home to encourage children to be flexible in their thinking and to try new things. Try being flexible in the small things: enjoy breakfast for dinner, eat ice cream with a fork, have your child read a bedtime story to you or have a picnic in the living room. Let your child know it is okay to do things in a different way.

Empathy

Children are beginning to understand different emotions and that others have feelings. Throughout their childhood, talk about their feelings and share one's own feeling with them as well. By taking the time to listen to how children are feeling, you will demonstrate to them that you care and reinforce with them that you fully understand how they are feeling.

Cooperation

Coordinate playdates or take your children to events where they can practice introducing themselves to other children, and potentially with adults. Find games and other activities that require turn-taking and sharing.

Gratitude

Encourage your child to spend five minutes every day listing the things they are grateful for. This could be done together just before bedtime or after dinner.

Respect

As parents, our goal is to teach children to recognize that even though people have different likes and dislikes or beliefs and ideas, they must treat each other with manners and positivity. Respect should be shown when sharing, cleaning up, and listening to others. Always teach and model the Golden Rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. Also remind children that respect can be shown towards things in the classroom. Treating materials and toys correctly shows appreciation for the things we have.
Learn + Play

Medical researchers and providers consider a woman's postpartum period to be up to 12 months after the delivery of baby, but too often, health insurance doesn't see it the same way. Nearly half of the births in the United States are covered by Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and while the babies who are born during these births are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP for a year, their mothers often lose their coverage 60 days after delivering their child. There is clear data showing 70% of new moms will have at least one health complication within a year of giving birth.

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This week, members of Congress' Subcommittee on Health met to mark up H.R. 4996, the "Helping Medicaid Offer Maternity Services (MOMS) Act of 2019, and it was favorably forwarded to the full Committee.

What does this mean? It means that while this bill still has a ways to go before it potentially becomes law, its success would see states get the option to provide 12 months of continuous coverage postpartum coverage to mothers on Medicaid. This would save lives.

As we at Motherly have said many times, it takes a considerable amount of time and energy to heal from birth. A mother may not be healed 60 days out from delivering. She may still require medical care for perinatal mood disorders, breast issues like thrush and mastitis, diabetes, and the consequences of traumatic births, like severe vaginal tearing.

Cutting off Medicaid when her baby is only 2 months old makes mom and baby vulnerable, and the Helping Moms Act could protect families from dire consequences.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and according to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications." This is not okay, and while H.R. 4996 is not yet signed into law this bill could help change this. It could help address the racial disparities that see so many Black mothers and Native American mothers dying from preventable causes in the first year of motherhood.

A report from nine American maternal mortality review committees found that there were three leading causes of death that occurred between 43 days and one year postpartum: cardiomyopathy (32.4%), mental health conditions (16.2%), and embolism (10.8%) and multiple state maternal mortality review committees have recommended extending Medicaid coverage to one year postpartum in order to prevent these deaths.

Basically, making sure that moms have have continuous access to health care the year after a birth means doctors can spot issues with things like depression, heart disease and high blood pressure at regular check-ups and treat these conditions before they become fatal.

The Helping Moms Act is a step forward in the fight for maternal health and it proves that maternal health is truly a bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike recognize the value in providing support for mothers during the postpartum period.

The Helping MOMS Act was was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Robin Kelly of Illinois, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. It was co-lead by Texas Republican Michael Burgess (who is also a medical doctor), as well as Georgia Republican Buddy Carter, Washington Republicans Jaime Herrera Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Ayanna Pressley from Massachusettes and Lauren Underwood of Illinois (both Democrats).

"Incentivizing postpartum Medicaid expansion is a critical first step in preventing maternal deaths by ensuring new moms can see their doctor. I'm proud that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, came together to put an end to the sad reality of American moms dying while growing their families," said Kelly. "We can't allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good. This is a good, bipartisan first step, but it must be the first of many."

It doesn't matter what your political stripes, reducing America's maternal mortality stats should be a priority.

News

Whether you're having a low-key Friendsgiving with your closest friends or prepping to host your first big Thanksgiving dinner with both families, figuring out all of the menu details can be the most overwhelming step. How much should I cook? What ingredients do I need? How does one actually cook a turkey this big?

But, don't worry, mama—HelloFresh is lending a helping hand this year with their Thanksgiving box in collaboration with Jessica Alba. Because you already have enough on your plate (and we're not talking stuffing).


Here are the details. You can choose from two Thanksgiving boxes: Turkey ($152) or beef tenderloin ($132). The turkey box serves 8-10 people while the beef one will serve 4-6 and both are $6.99 to ship. We got to try both and they're equally delicious so you can't go wrong with either one, but the turkey does require a 4-day thaw period so keep that in mind. And if you're wondering what the sides are, here's a sneak peek:

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  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green bean casserole with crispy onions
  • Ciabatta stuffing with chick sausage and cranberries
  • Cranberry sauce with orange, ginger and cinnamon
  • Apple ginger crisp with cinnamon pecan crumble

While someone still has to do the actual cooking, it's designed to take the stress out of Thanksgiving dinner so you can focus on spending time with your loved ones (or watching Hallmark Christmas movies). You don't have to worry about grocery shopping, portion sizes, recipe curation or forgetting that essential thing you needed to make the meal perfect. Everything is super simple to make from start to finish—it even comes with a cooking timeline.

Orders are open through November 21 and can be delivered anytime through November 24. Even better? You don't need a subscription to order.


ORDER A BOX

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

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My mother's death propelled me to start the process of becoming a parent as a 43-year-old single woman. As my connection to her remained strong in spirit after her death, I was ready to experience the same bond with my own child. I began the journey with Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), and after three failed attempts at getting pregnant, I decided to adopt.

The adoption process is a lengthy and humbling one—one that includes fingerprints, background checks, references, classes, doing a profile of yourself and your life that birth parents eventually use to choose adoptive families.

After my application was approved, a young couple chose me just a month later. I couldn't believe my fortune. But I had to get to work and prepare the house for my baby's arrival. I bought the best of everything—bassinets, clothes, diapers, car seats… the list goes on. I told close friends and family that it was finally happening.

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But all of this was in vain. The day I was supposed to pick my daughter up, I learned that the birth parents had changed their minds. They no longer wanted to give their daughter up for adoption. As time passed, it was difficult to endure no interest from potential parents but the faith in believing what is meant to be continued. To increase my potential, I enrolled with a second adoption agency.

A few months later, as I was getting ready to try IVF for the first time, I received a phone call to let me know that a woman had selected me to adopt her child. So I opted out of IVF and found myself in a hospital delivery room with the birth mother, assisting her in the delivery of MY child. It was a boy! I was so thrilled, and he was just adorable.

After six years of losses and disappointments, I was able to bring him home and awaited the final word that the mother and father have given the needed consent. I was getting ready to watch the Super Bowl with him dressed in football gear, I got a phone call.

Once again, the adoption agency informed me that the birth mother had changed her mind. That evening, I had to return the baby to his birth mom. I was heartbroken, and my hopes were shattered.

What now? Going back to IVF meant starting from scratch, and that would take a minimum of six months before being able to really start getting pregnant. I was 49 years old, and the clock was ticking. I really wanted to be a mom by the age of 50.

I was in Chicago, recovering from a collapsed lung, when I received yet another phone call from the adoption agency. An expecting mom had chosen me and had already signed over all of her rights. This little girl was mine. For real, this time. But I had to get to Southern New Jersey by Thursday to pick her up from the hospital.

After negotiating with my doctor to give me the green light to leave while recovering from my condition, I hopped on a train, and 22 hours later, I arrived to New York City in a massive snow storm. I took longer than expected to get to her, but after navigating the icy roads of New Jersey, I met my daughter!

She is now 2 years old, and she has changed my life in ways that just can't be fully described. What I can say is that I now understand my mother's love even more and her devotion to me and my siblings, and as I am sharing the same with my daughter, my bond to my mother keeps on growing.

Becoming a mom at 49 was never what I had envisioned. But whether you are trying to conceive or have decided to adopt a child, the road to becoming a parent is rarely easy. I know that inner strength and believing in what was meant to be kept me moving forward.

Life
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