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With the dollar’s value rising, now is a great time to travel abroad with children in tow.


Although there are many logistics to consider, traveling with young ambassadors doesn’t have to be intimidating. International travel expands a child’s horizons, widens their world and yours, and promotes global citizenship through exploration of other cultures. When traveling abroad with children, you live more like temporary expats than as tourists because you’re compelled to slow your pace and accomplish less. However, the memories aren’t any less meaningful than an adult traveler ticking off every tourist box.

Here are my tips for planning a successful—and mostly stress-free—adventure around the world.

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  1. Get your passports ready to fly

Obtain new passports or renew expiring passports well in advance to avoid expedited fees or hassle of visiting your nearest passport agency. Keep in mind that minors under age 16 need a new passport every five years, and some countries require a passport to be valid for at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Most airlines won’t even let you board the plane unless this requirement is met. Some countries also require visas or necessitate extra immunizations. Certain post offices can accept passport applications with the convenience of having your passport photo taken onsite for an additional fee. (Quick tip: preview the digital photo before you commit. In a rush, I sent my darling husband with ma petite fille to the photo booth while I corrected the pesky forms. She’ll thank me later for the re-takes. It was worth the extra $15.) Also, make sure to book airline tickets with the exact names—no nicknames—on each passport. A friend recently swallowed a hefty re-booking fee when her son’s plane ticket was mistakenly reserved with his nickname.

I snap photos of our passports and keep stored on my iPhone then email copies to the grandparents and myself just in case. It is easier to replace a passport abroad if you have a copy in your possession. I like to have a photo of my passport that is easily accessible during shopping excursions when I need to present my passport for VAT refund forms because I love an opportunity to save a few euros or pounds. I prefer not to carry our passports once at our destination. I either lock in the hotel safe or zip inside the liner of my suitcase if we are renting an apartment.

2. Get your baby gear in gear

When traveling with a baby or toddler, I encourage investing in a high quality stroller that can handle uneven sidewalks and cobblestone streets. The lightweight Bugaboo Bee (pictured above) gets my vote with its agile handling and full recline—key for napping and diaper changing. Be prepared for creative diaper changing abroad, as changing stations can be few and far between.

A lightweight Maclaren stroller, which collapses for easy carrying up and down stairs, works well for older toddlers and preschoolers who still need the opportunity to ride rather than walk. A rain cover and stroller bunting can be helpful accessories, depending on where you go.

Now that our daughter is older, we travel with a Micro Kick Scooter that brilliantly comes apart and fits in a suitcase. I suggest the Scoot ‘N Pull Strap accessory that serves as a hands-free carrying option or as a tether to pull a tired child who needs a rest. Overtired children and even parents make for grumpy travelers.

Soft carriers, such as an Ergo, are also key for parents of infants since many museums and historic sites deem strollers verboten.

Travel high chairs like the foldable Totseat can be helpful in places that lack high chairs. While hotels will have access to cribs, some apartment rentals might not have cribs or pack and plays readily available.

Phil and Teds makes the lightweight Traveller Portacotthat fits inside a suitcase and accommodates babies and even older toddlers.

Nowadays, it is also super easy to rent anything from cribs to strollers in most tourist destinations. A cross-body bag that zips shut is my preferred purse or diaper bag when traveling, as it keeps my hands free and my belongings safer from pickpockets.

3. Consider Air and Ground Travel

If you will not need a carseat at your destination, there are plenty of options for transporting little ones safely to and from the airport without having to schlep a bulky carseat. Ask a friend to drop you off or book a car service like Uber Family. Now that my daughter rides in a booster seat, I carry an inflatable Bubble Bum in my bag for taxis and Uber. It is wise to pre-arrange transportation from the airport to your hotel or apartment because who wants to be dealing with that headache after a red-eye. And do not even think about tackling public transportation from the airport to your accommodations with a stroller and luggage since elevators are not always available. I learned that lesson the hard way when I thought surely we could manage a toddler in a cast, a stroller, and a couple of heavy suitcases on the RER in Paris. Traveling with young children is much different from backpacking post-college. But that is another story for another time.

Long flights mean packing lots of snacks and distractions in your motherly bag of tricks. New and novel small toys along withWikki Stix,Usborne Sticker Dolly Books, coloring supplies, movies, and iPad apps have all contributed to mostly peaceful flights across the pond. For flights to Europe, we usually book a red-eye and attempt to sleep most of the way. Bringing your child’s lovey or blanket can certainly help. So can Benadryl. I cannot confirm or deny. Oh, and a glass of wine for the parents. When my daughter was younger, I even changed her into pajamas and sleep sack because that mirrored her routine at home. A cozy pashmina serves as a more sanitary blanket than the scratchy airplane ones. I also pack a full change of clothes for everyone in our carry on in case someone gets sick on the plane or our luggage gets lost. Better safe than sorry, right?

4. Finding Accommodations and Dealing with Jet Lag

When traveling abroad—especially in cities—with children, a rented apartment often makes more sense than a hotel or even a hotel suite with its cost savings, extra space, and kitchen access. It also affords the opportunity to live like temporary expats, rather than just tourists, albeit for just a few days. Looking for the right apartment abroad can be a daunting task though, as the options seem limitless until you start scrutinizing photos and reading the fine print. A friend fell victim to a bait and switch last year when she booked an apartment that seemed too good to be true and found her brood sleeping under a leaky ceiling and sitting on broken furniture.

Most agencies won’t give you the exact street address (for security reasons) until the deposit has been paid. I like to book apartments with easy access to public transportation, tourist sights, and museums along with markets, playgrounds, and restaurants nearby. I prefer word of mouth recommendations and agencies that accept credit cards for added consumer protection. We lucked out in finding Farnum & Christand Paris Deluxe Rentals for our London and Paris travels years ago and continue to book through them and recommend to friends and colleagues.

To combat jet lag, I attempt to reset everyone’s internal clock the moment we cross the jet-bridge. When flying to Europe, I find overnight flights helpful with decreasing jet lag’s effects if everyone can fall and stay asleep. That is easier said than done. We usually spend our first day orienting ourselves and shopping for supplies before visiting a playground and eating an early dinner. Over the years, I have learned that forcing my family to eat and sleep on our destination’s time zone helps alleviate jet lag. However, jet lag can also work to a parent’s advantage, as many museums have evening hours one or two days a week. Popular museums are often less crowded during extended hours, too.

5. What to Pack:

I keep generic lists for each type of trip we take then customize it based on our destination. I usually bring the list with me then make notes for future trips.

If traveling with an infant, be sure to pack feeding supplies and enough diapers for a couple of days unless you’re traveling somewhere like Belize, where diapers are ridiculously expensive. In that case, I would pack enough for the entire trip. When my daughter was newly potty-trained, I brought a foldable potty seat that fit in a Ziploc bag to make potty stops less stressful. I always pack universally useful Ziploc bags in a variety of sizes along with a reusable snack bag. Even though my daughter said goodbye to diapers years ago, I still bring wipes with me everywhere. They clean anything from hands to stains. Medications and a thermometer always make the list in addition to a couple of cheap umbrellas, stain stick, small flashlight that doubles as a nightlight, travel clock to remind darling daughter to stay in bed, and easily packable toys like playing cards. Paperback children’s books about the sights and art we’ll see make the cut, too. If you have a picky eater, you might consider packing a few staple snacks or even peanut butter, provided there is no allergy. Microwaveable macaroni and cheese and a jar of peanut butter, which is hard to find in Europe, have saved us from a few foodie meltdowns.

While I do pack a couple of guidebooks, I also download books or apps onto my iPhone and iPad to lighten my load since every kilo counts. An offline translator helps when you have exhausted the few key phrases learned. Be sure to pack several adapters but leave the converters at home. Most computers, cameras, and smart phones don’t need them, and anything that needs a converter will not work properly. I bought a dual voltage curling iron at Target that can be used with a simple adapter. Since many apartments provide towels but not washcloths, I toss a couple in my suitcase just in case. Now that most airlines strictly enforce weight limits, I bring a portable luggage scale to check weight and afoldable duffle—such as a Longchamp bag — to transport purchases home. A trip to Europe usually means new shoes and a handbag pour moi. Speaking of shopping, I have a no-foreign-transaction fee credit card and use it for everything abroad. Credit card companies often add 3-4% in fees, which can add up quickly. Be sure to let your credit card company know to expect foreign purchases. I never order foreign currency ahead of time and just withdraw money from an airport ATM once we land. The exchange rates are usually better at a foreign ATM than at your bank back home. While I add an international plan to my iPhone, my tech-savvy husband purchases a new SIM card and saves us a few extra euros, which means more money for my shopping budget.

6. Get Busy With Kid-Friendly Planning

Once the plane tickets are booked, the planning and research commences. I read voraciously to learn as much beforehand about what we are going to see and do. I make notes on my calendar what days certain museums close or stay open late then have a menu of ideas for things to do and see each day. Flexibility is key. Children’s books help prepare young travelers for everything from flying on an airplane to seeing Monet’s water lilies for the first time. I ask ma petite fille what she wants to see and do and include her in the planning process.

A typical schedule as temporary expats usually includes breakfast at our apartment then a plan to see a couple of historic sites, museums, or tourist attractions with time at a playground planned each day. Traveling with children means slowing down and embracing your young audience. Perhaps your best memories might entail your child assimilating through the universal language of play or finding the local café or pub where families linger on a Sunday afternoon. We usually eat one big meal out per day either at lunch or dinner then picnic or eat at our apartment the rest of the day. Some of our favorite meals are simple ones comprised of market finds. With a little research or recommendations from locals, it is easy to find kid-friendly places to eat that are not chains or fast food.

If you want a night out sans kiddos, book a babysitter before you travel. Some hotels offer babysitting services, but you are on your own with most apartment rentals. I have found babysitters abroad through my local mother’s listserv, reputable agencies such asBabysitters of Kensington and Chelsea, and even through the study abroad office at my alma maters. I have also found sitters independently through sites like Yoopies in Paris. However, that route takes a lot of online interviewing, vetting, and triple checking of references. Hiring a trusted babysitter can be a win-win for everyone. My daughter loves the attention from a babysitter and some downtime at the apartment, and we enjoy a leisurely night out at an adult-centric restaurant with perhaps a walk or respite at a café afterward.

Au revoir, baby!

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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