A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Many parents are overworked and exhausted. In fact, a recent study showed that moms work an average of 98 hours per week and that the average mom gets only 17 minutes of free time to herself each day.


Another surprising source of parents' weariness is feeling out-of-sorts or lonely due to complex changes in relationships with friends, partners, or family. Research suggests that loneliness—not just overwork—contributes to a feeling of burnout.

It's essential that parents care for themselves—for their own well-being—but also because any effort they put into self-care has huge payoffs for their children. When parents "fill their own cups," they have more patience, energy, and passion to spread to their families.

Here are a few self-care strategies to help parents strengthen relationships, be compassionate toward themselves, and renew their energy:

1. Journal for 20 minutes. Write in a free-flowing stream-of-consciousness style. Notice feelings that are just under the surface.

2. Turn on uplifting music—maybe a song with a strong message you need to hear, some rock and roll song you loved in high school, African drumming, flute music, or a catchy pop single.

3. Write and send a sweet card to someone—a birthday card, a “thinking of you” card, a “get well" card, a "congratulations" card, or a “no-reason” card.

4. Make yourself a nice drink like chamomile tea, hot chocolate or juice and sip it slowly.

5. Schedule at least one uninterrupted hour with a close friend. Go out for coffee or a drink, talk on the phone, go out for dinner, or go for a walk together.

6. Color a picture from a coloring book with or beside your child. Take your time.

7. Go on a social media kindness spree. Use 20 minutes to post nice comments on people’s social media or through messenger.

8. Make a cozy spot. Make a blanket fort with your kids and climb in it with them (resting and hiding and giggling).

9. On a single piece of paper, write down everything that’s weighing on you, stressing you, or bothering you. Put a dash after each one with a single action-step that may help relieve it.

10. Plan a special one-on-one date with your child—hiking, painting pottery, or going to a minor-league baseball game.

11. Call a friend or loved one and say, “I’m having a hard time with this. Do you mind if I talk this out with you?”

12. Go for a walk (preferably in the woods or near water).

13. Download a gratitude app and record what you’re thankful for—e.g. a short commute, a great babysitter, a cozy home.

14. Engage in a small bit of service—make fudge for your grandma, call your Congress person about an issue of importance, shovel someone’s walkway, get a partner’s car washed, or answer a few questions on www.freerice.com.

15. Do a short meditation by closing your eyes, breathing deeply, focusing on your breath, and saying, “All sounds return to the breath, all thoughts return to the breath, all distractions return to the breath.”

16. Do a single tiny household chore that’s been bothering you—empty one drawer, give away one bag of clothes, or clean one shelf of your fridge. Pat yourself on the back for completing it.

17. Sit on the couch and put your feet up and close your eyes. Take a catnap or a daydream nap. Notice what shows up when you close your eyes.

18. Let yourself be blue for a bit. Cuddle under a blanket, play sad bluesy music, eat chocolate ice cream, or cry.

19. Get your nails done. Pick an off-the-wall color for your toes.

20. Follow the “rule of three.” Always be consciously aware of three things you’re looking forward to.

21. Write down one goal or intention you have for the week and post it on your fridge. Take everything else (like magnets, pictures, art projects, to-do lists, etc.) off your fridge.

22. Think of one activity you could cut out of your schedule that you wouldn’t miss at all. Then actually cut it out of your schedule.

23. Choose something you’re going to savor today—taking a shower, riding the train, walking, chopping wood, or reading a celebrity magazine. “Savor” it instead of just “doing” it.

24. Go somewhere local that you’ve never been before—a new forest preserve, a new park, a new beach, a different library, or a conservatory.

25. Think of one way you compare yourself to others and feel bad about it—remind yourself that you rarely see the hard parts of people’s lives because they purposely hide them or keep them private.

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Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent. Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, is more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued so the crisis can be averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

For me, the fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

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In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

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For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

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There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas

www.pinterest.com

Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

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