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I don’t really like the newborn stage. There. I said it.


I’m not sure why it’s acceptable to not love the “terrible twos” or the teenage years, but frowned upon to wish the newborn stage away. But it is. Maybe it’s because babies are just so precious. Or because they are so helpless. Or so teeny.

But, all those things aside, I’m just not a fan of sleepless nights or inconsolable crying or non-stop nursing. I have often said, if a baby came out as a 6-month-old, I would have had 10 more babies—but those first few months are just awful to me.

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So, when I had my third baby, I found myself counting the days until she turned six months. Every time I woke to nurse I would think, I am that much closer. Every one week celebration would be met with a “another week down, xyz more to go.” I literally spent every waking moment wishing time away.

But, as mentioned, she was my third. I also had a 10-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter who were in the throes of their childhoods. And I felt guilt. Extreme, heart wrenching guilt. Because I so did not want to wish their little lives away. If anything, I wanted quite the opposite; for them to remain exactly where they were in time.

This point was brought more fervently to me upon a trip into their elementary school . I was savoring the hour away from my littlest. And as I rounded the corner, heading back to the cafeteria from the front office, I was met by a first grade class. In that moment, for some reason, I could see my youngest. Clearly and precisely. It was as if time—that terrible monster—had indeed sped up right in front of my eyes. I could feel her as a first grader and knew it would be here in an instant.

And I almost lost it.

I rounded yet another corner and stumbled upon two middle school girls putting up a poster. And I could see my middle child. Clearly and precisely. I could feel her as a teenager getting ready for high school. And, I remember thinking, high school is going to be here before I know it.

And I almost lost it.

I then entered the cafeteria, and my 8-year-old daughter came running at me with such love and enthusiasm that I buckled. She grabbed me in the biggest bear hug and held on with all her might.

And then I did actually lose it. Because I wanted nothing more than to freeze time, right then and there. I didn’t want my baby to be a first grader and I didn’t want my middle to be a teenager. I didn’t want my oldest to ever move away. I wanted time to stop and allow me to enjoy my children who loved me with every fiber of their being, the way they do right now.

My son then entered the cafeteria. All 10 years and 100 pounds of him. I asked him if it was still cool to sit with his mother and he said, without question, “YES MOM!” I waited to see if he would hug or kiss me, and without a pause, he did.

And I could see him as a high schooler. I knew that he would not be in this school much longer, nor would he want to eat lunch with his mother or hug her in the cafeteria. But in that moment, he wanted nothing more than that. And I wanted to hold on to that moment, with every fiber of my being.

As I drove home, I was met with the ghost of my big kids’ past. I passed the playground where I wished for nothing more than for my son to be able to go down the slide by himself or for my daughter to be able to swing without assistance.

I also passed the house where I can see—as clear as can be—my 2-year-old son trick-or-treating as a pirate while my husband held my 7-month-old daughter dressed as a cat.

It literally seemed like just days ago, as opposed to years. I passed the pool where my kids learned to swim and the trail where they learned to ride bikes. All places where I thought, I can’t wait until they can do these activities without assistance (while also being in awe of the learning process.)

I then entered the house where they learned to roll over and crawl and pull up and walk and talk. And, again, felt as if those milestones were met just a little bit ago rather than an eternity. And I realized—at every stage, I simultaneously wanted them to move on to the next phase and yet remain right where they were.

So, mamas, my advice to you is this. Each stage has its hardships, but also has its glories. Learn from the hard and revel in those good moments—no matter how big or small. Because, in just a hot second, you will be on to the next and the next and the next.

And before you know it, your child will be hanging posters in the middle school hallway while you wish desperately that you could go back to those sleepless nights.

It really does go in a blink, even when it feels like a lifetime when you’re in it—in those exhausting raising-little-kids days. But what I truly understand now is that if you don’t stop to enjoy the present, future-you will do nothing but wish she could return to the past.

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Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life

I am broken.

It has happened again and I am breaking even more. Soon, the pieces will be too small to put back together.

The negative pregnancy test sits on my bathroom sink like a smug ex-lover. I am left pleading, How could you do this to me again? I thought it would be different this time. I had hope.

We are still trying. It has been 11 months and 13 days and there has been no progress. No forward momentum. No double solid lines. The emptiness of the space where the line should be mocks me.

I am broken.

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No amount of planning and scheming and effort is enough. I am not enough because I cannot make a chemical reaction happen at the exact moment it needs to happen. I cannot do what I want but oh how I wish I could.

It almost happened once. Two months ago, I felt different. Sore breasts and aware of the world like never before. I felt not empty. The blankness had been replaced by someone. I was sure of it. And I was late. Six days late and I thought this is it.

I didn't rush to test because I didn't want to jinx it. Or perhaps I just didn't want to let go of that string of hope. Without evidence that you're not actually here, I can pretend that you are.

So I waited. And I Googled early pregnancy symptoms and I kept an eye out for red spots I hoped I would never see. I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided the next morning would be the test.

But when I woke up, I knew it was just me. The feeling I had been feeling was gone and I knew, just knew, what I would find.

This test had words instead of lines. 'Not pregnant' it blared loudly, obnoxiously, insensitively.

I am broken.

It was four in the morning and I stood in my tiny bathroom apartment silently sobbing. Alone.

Perhaps you were there for a brief moment, but then you were gone.

I stared again at the stick.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

It was taunting me now.

I wrapped it in a paper towel. Walked down three flights of stairs to the front of my building and threw it in the garbage can outside.

Later, when my husband woke, I told him I was wrong. There was nothing there after all.

And I mourned. All day long, I mourned. While I walked to work. While I said hello to my co-workers. While I answered questions and pretended to smile and tried not to think of the broken body I was living in.

The next day the blood arrived. Furious. Both of us infuriated it was there once again.

Can I keep doing this?

Am I broken?

Will I get to the point where I just… stop? Stop hoping. Stop praying. Stop wishing. Stop. Trying.

Am I broken? Or can I keep going?

Life

One of my biggest jobs as a mama is to create a foundation for my kids to become trailblazers and problem-solvers. It's not an easy task. I'm constantly wondering what type of person they'll become and how I can ensure they'll be awesome citizens of the world. For me, part of raising and encouraging future leaders starts with exposure—the more I introduce them to notable leaders in history, the better they can envision their own future.

This is why I love when brands create inspirational clothing and accessories for kids. And this month, Piccolina, a lifestyle brand for littles, added an exclusive Black History Month capsule collection to their trailblazer tees series and they are too cute for words.

The Black History Month line honors heroic leaders like Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks on colorful tees. It even features illustrations by emerging artists of color like Monica Ahanonu, Erin Robinson and Joelle Avelino who are, in my opinion, just as important.

In addition to the tops, the collection features art prints that coincide with the shirts, making this a perfect addition to any kids room—and even mama's office. Perhaps even more exciting are the price points: The limited-edition tees retail for $28 and framed art prints are $60.

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

This cotton tee features a portrait of the award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist and is the perfect way for your little one to celebrate her inner storyteller. A portion of the shirts proceeds benefit non-profit organizations that support girls' education and empowerment, such as the Malala Fund and Step Up.

$28

While I'm not sure what type of person my little ones will become, I'm certain that introducing them to leaders will help them have greater self-confidence and reinforce that they are competent and resilient, too. And what mama can't get behind that? Now the hardest part is deciding which ones to purchase.

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