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2018 is my year to peaceful parenting: Why I’m leaving anger + guilt in 2017

I always find the New Year to be inspiring. It may be cliche, but it’s hard not to think of it as a fresh start, a new beginning, another chance to be better.


And sometimes “being better” means ditching something or someone from your life.

So, 2018, you’re my year to weed through the unnecessary. To be present in the now. To let go of the past. To work toward my goals and let my future shine bright.

2017, you’re almost over. And that’s okay. I’m ready to bid you adieu. Oh, and don't forget to take these five things with you. Because 2018 is my year for peace and happiness.

1. Negative self talk ?

Isn’t it terrible when you hear someone you love talk badly about themselves? I don’t see this ‘bad stuff’ they see—I see their best qualities. So I wonder why I do it to myself. If I don’t want my sister talking badly about herself, why is it okay for me to?

Well, spoiler alert: It’s not! And 2018 me is going to put an end to this. No more comparison, no more “I wish I was more…” Because, really—what’s the point?

I’m not ever going to be somebody else’s perfect, and that’s okay. But me—and my life—can be my perfect. The chaos, the extra pounds, the not-exactly-Pinterest worthy-house, the tantrums—they’re all part of who I am. This life is beautiful, crazy, wild and fun. And that’s good enough. That’s perfect to me.

2. Things that don’t fit ?

I have a decent chunk of clothing that I’m hanging on to for when “I lose the weight.” Sure, I may “lose the weight”—I hope to, because I always strive to feel healthy and strong—but I don’t need to see a size 8 dress mocking me in my closet when I know that will probably never fit me again. And that’s okay—I don’t need it to. So, bye!

My house can sometimes feel cluttered to me because I have decorations I purchased or that have been gifted to me out on display. Or because of my children’s toys and stuffed animals. But 2018 me is going to be okay with getting rid of things that don’t fit my style anymore. If I don’t like it, it’s okay to give it away. If my kids don’t play with it anymore, it’s okay to pass it along to someone who might.

I want to make room for things that matter to us. For things that are beautiful and inspiring to us.

3. Anger over little things ?

I can be so angry sometimes. And I’m not proud of it. I let the little things bother me. I let my anxiety take over and snap at silly things. I don’t always remember to stop and look around at all the love and joy that’s in my life when anger strikes.

I don’t want to be like this. I don’t want “Why are you mad, Mommy?” to be a question my preschooler gets used to asking me. I don’t want my toddler to say, “Mommy, take a deep breath,” when I’m the one that’s supposed to be using these prompts with her.

This year I want to stop and see myself through their eyes. I’m their mommy! Fun, happy, kind mommy! And that’s what I want them to see.

Sure, mommy will get upset sometimes or feel frustrated—but, I believe these feelings can be present without getting angry. And I’m going to figure that out for myself. Maybe my mantra for 2018 will be, “Patience is a virtue. One I want to harness.”

4. Unnecessary guilt ?

I have the uncanny ability to make myself feel guilty for a wide range of things—anything from dropping my girls off at their babysitter’s house so I can get work done to telling my husband I don’t want to watch Ironman again.

Sometimes I feel guilty for wearing yoga pants too much (even though they are real pants!) or choosing rest instead of tackling an item on my to-do list.

I’m going to stop with the guilt.

I lose sleep over things that are in the past. I worry over whether I said the right thing. Or about that time I got embarrassed in 2013. I second guess decisions I make. But no more. Not in 2018.

Because I am a good person who puts kindness first and never means to offend. I am going to make mistakes and I’ll own up to them and I’ll never be afraid to apologize. But then I’m going to leave these worries and mistakes where they belong—in the past.

5. Saying ‘sorry’ all the time ?

While on the topic of apologizing, I’m going to tell you something—I’m going to stop apologizing for so much. I say sorry all the time, for all the things. Sorry for the delay. Sorry I am late. Sorry, I can’t make it. Sorry, I don’t think that’s a good idea. Sorry, that won’t work for me. Sorry, that’s a hard no.

I definitely am sorry when I am in the wrong. When I’ve messed up something at work, or when I’ve hurt my husband's feelings, or when I’ve raised my voice at my daughter—these are things I didn’t mean to happen, didn’t want to happen, and felt true remorse for happening. So I’ve apologized.

Suffice it to say—you can still expect an apology from me if I do something I’m truly sorry for. But the little things? I’m going to take a cue from Ms. Demi Lovato and embrace that #SorryNotSorry mentality.

Because I’ll never be sorry for speaking up for myself or what I believe in. I’ll never be sorry for doing what’s right for my family. And I’ll never be sorry for trying my best.

Bring it on, 2018. ?

After 4 kids, this is still the best baby gear item I’ve ever purchased

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work.

I have four kids 8 and under, so you might expect that my house is teeming with baby gear and kid toys.

But it turns out that for me, the more kids I have, the more I simplify our stuff. At this point, I'm down to the absolute essentials, the gear that I can't live without and the toys my kids actually play with. And so when a mama-to-be asks me what things are worth registering for, there are only a few must-haves on my list.

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer seat is on the top of my list—totally worth it and an absolute must-have for any new mama.

In fact, since I first splurged on my first BABYBJÖRN bouncer eight years ago (it definitely felt like a splurge at the time, but the five star reviews were really compelling), the bouncer seat has become the most-used product in our house for baby's first year.

We've actually invested in a second one so that we didn't have to keep moving ours from the bedroom to the living room when we change locations.

BABYBJÖRN bouncer bliss

baby bjorn bouncer

The utility of the seat might seem counterintuitive—it has no mechanical parts, so your baby is instead gently bounced by her own movements. In a world where many baby products are touted for their ability to mechanically rock baby to sleep, I get that many moms might not find the "no-motion" bouncer that compelling. But it turns out that the seat is quite reactive to baby's little kicks, and it has helped my kids to learn how to self-soothe.

$200

Lightweight + compact:

The BABYBJÖRN bouncer is super lightweight, and it also folds flat in a second. Because of those features, we've frequently stored it under the couch, in a suitcase or in the back of the car. It folds completely flat, which I love.

Entertainment zone:

Is the toy bar worth it? The toy bar is totally worth it. Not only is the toy bar adorable, but it's one of the first toys that my babies actually play with once they discover the world beyond my boobs. The toys spin and are close to eye level so they have frequently kept my baby entertained while I cook or take a quick shower.

Great style:

This is not a small detail to me–the BABYBJÖRN bouncer is seriously stylish. I am done with baby gear and toys that make my house look like a theme park. The elegant European design honestly just looks good in my living room and I appreciate that parents can enjoy it as much as baby.

It's adjustable:

With three height settings that let you prop baby up to be entertained, or lay back to rest, we get years of use. And the bouncer can actually be adjusted for bigger kids and used from newborn to toddler age. It's that good.

It just works:

I wouldn't be swooning over the BABYBJÖRN bouncer after eight years and four kids if it didn't work. But I have used the seat as a safe space to put baby while I've worked (I once rocked my baby in it with my foot while I reported on a breaking news story for the Washington Post), and as a cozy spot for my second child to lay while his big brother played nearby. It's held up for almost a decade with almost-constant use.

So for me, looking back on what I thought was a splurge eight years ago, was actually one of the best investments in baby gear I ever made.

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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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