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I've decided to officially give myself a break in the "looking 100% put together all the time" arena.


How? You might ask.

Black leggings.

I will buy more. I will wear more.

Because other pants? Over them.

We have just come out of the other side of a winter filled with snow storms and sicknesses and snots and fevers and isolation. It's been a bit rough. There was not as much reading books while we were cuddled up with a trendy woven blanket as we would have liked. There was definitely more rushing to Target for Motrin and dashing to CVS for prescriptions and the shoveling of driveways.

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Winter is one of my favorite seasons. I love (almost) everything about it, but this year there was a LOT of hard work involved. I need a vacay from this season if you know what I mean. (Spring, be kind to us...please?)

So, I've decided to give myself a break. At the moment, I'm not really striving to look any certain way. Instead I'm embracing. I'm saying YES to who I am already.

I am a mom in my thirties now, and I no longer feel compelled to do things I do not like to do.

Like shaving in the winter for example.

Right now I have decided I do not like pants.

Lucky for me, fashion has given me a gift, a thank-you present for putting up with underwire bras: leggings. Leggings do not cramp my style, they don't question my decision to drink wine. Leggings get it. They say hey girl don't worry about it, you're butt feels great, so it looks great.

Leggings know that I'm a mom who doesn't have time to shower today. Leggings care that this mom belly birthed four (!) kids. Leggings know that I might squeeze in a work out (but they also know that I probably won't). They know that I'm a wonder-woman stay-at-home mom extraordinaire who just needs to feel her jiggly parts all tucked in while she tucks in her little ones in bed at night.

Leggings don't judge.

One of the most common things moms struggle with is trying to manage the stress in their lives. Do you know what does not manage stress? Buttons and zippers. Waistbands that dig in. Jeans that are so tight in the thigh region that it's hard to sit down.

Problem solved: leggings.

Reasons to wear jeans:

You are attending, or taking part in a rodeo.

You are a part of the sisterhood of the traveling pants, and your pants are magic.

You are hoping to restrict your range of motion.

You are John Wayne.

You are painting and you need to wear something to ruin.

You are long boarding on asphalt and forgot your kneepads.

***

Reasons to wear black leggings:

Every other reason.

***

Do you know where it is appropriate to wear black leggings? Everywhere. Attending a wedding? Taking your kids to the Chic-Fil-A play land? Going to bed? They are universal, like the Olympics and Betty White. Same pants, different shoes.

I used to be into designer denim, and I do think I will still pull them out for special occasions like parent-teacher conferences and barrel racing. I have not barrel raced since I was 11, so the odds are in my favor. I think it's good to wear them occasionally though so I remember what leg prison feels like. Afterwards me and my leggings will dance like Judy Haynes and Phil Davis to celebrate what a beautiful thing we have going.

Jeans, I'm sorry I just don't have time for your unspoken judgements and expectations. Your unforgiving waist band is rude.

We should break up. It's not me, it's you.

In all seriousness though, whether you have decided to not worry so much about looking put together all the time or not, give yourself a break. We all have things to work on, but let me just say—you are an amazing mother and you're doing other things right. Along with whatever you've decide to quit worrying about, please be more concerned with self-kindness. Let yourself off the hook more often. Wear soft slippers and black leggings. Because girl, you're worth it.

May you also find a moment to cuddle on the couch with a book and a trendy woven blanket. (In your leggings of course.)

P.S. We need to rally. Leggings and yoga pants can not go by the wayside like high-waisted underwear and scrunchies. They can NEVER go out of style. Now, if we could just make men's hoodies a thing...

Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As mamas we want our babies to be safe, and that's what makes what happened to Glee actress Naya Rivera and her 4-year-old son Josey so heartbreaking. Late Wednesday night news broke that Rivera was missing and presumed drowned after her 4-year-old son, Josey, was found floating alone on a rented boat on Lake Piru in Ventura County, California.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Sheriff's Department Capt. Eric Buschow said the mother and her preschooler were swimming near the boat Wednesday afternoon. Josey got back into the rented boat after the swim but his mother did not. The preschooler was later found by other boaters, sleeping alone in the boat. Rescuers were able to figure out who he was because Rivera's wallet and identification were on the boat.

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Our hearts are breaking for Josey and his dad right now. So much is unknown about what happened on Lake Piru but one thing is crystal clear: Naya Rivera has always loved her son with all her heart.

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