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Feeling a mixture of emotions doesn’t make you ‘bad’—it makes you a parent

Because I'm a mom to five children, people might assume that I somehow avoided the postpartum blues. Not so. After every birth, I rode the hormonal roller coaster with plenty of self-doubt and tears—especially with my first.


I vividly recall my inability to put on my daughter’s going-home outfit at the hospital. I kept turning her around, shoving her floppy arms and legs in the wrong places, confused as to which snaps were for what. The nurse finally set me straight, but the damage was done. This evidence convinced me that I wasn’t qualified to bring my newborn home, much less be her mom for the rest of her life. I cried most of the way home.

I subsequently learned that feelings of inadequacy, as well as euphoria, are part of the journey.

It’s as normal to feel bereft as it is to stare at your beautiful baby in joyous wonderment. By describing common emotional struggles and strategies for coping, I hope to help you ensure that your tears of frustration are far outnumbered by tears of joy.

You just want to do right by your baby

Despite what Google may lead us to believe, there are not truly threats toward newborn babies lurking around every corner. In fact, most babies will be just fine with regular care—even when mishaps happen. Babies can get cold or hot, be wet or cry, and they’ll be OK.

Take for instance the day I went home with my second child: I wanted to show him off in our new double stroller. I proudly lay my son in the back and put my two-year-old daughter in the front. I took two steps down a Chicago city block, and the stroller collapsed on both of them. Horrified, with my heart pounding, I unfolded the tangle of stroller and children, only to find that they were both fine. Believe me, after that, I always checked to make sure the stroller was locked in place.

Of course, you shouldn’t ignore your newfound mother’s intuition and protective instincts. The trick is to keep your imagination at bay and live in the moment. Worrying about the unknown is wasted energy. Just breathe and enjoy!

You don’t know if you’re right for the job (Hint: You are)

You would be hard-pressed to find a new mom who doesn’t feel inadequate to some degree. The responsibility of nurturing a new life is powerful and often overwhelming. With my firstborn, I remember feeling very emotional about having brought a new life into a world that is often felt cruel and unfair. Simply watching the news made me worried about my ability to do right by my new baby. I also spent too much time comparing myself to to other moms who effortlessly “wore” their babies in cool slings or nursed while carrying on a conversation in a café. (Even after five children, I never did accomplish those hip mama moves.)

New moms can become too focused on what isn’t going well instead of appreciating how much they’ve figured out in a short period of time. In a matter of days, you progress from figuring out diapers to juggling the baby in one arm while getting a stroller down the stairs. How amazing is that?!

So try to focus on how well you are doing and don’t compare yourself to moms who seem to have it all under control. You’re not just “good enough” to parent this child—to your baby, you’re perfect!

You are overwhelmed by a lack of control

Babies cry a lot, especially in late afternoons or when they are colicky. In the beginning, you will have to give up control and operate within their parameters. Fortunately, there are ways to make sure you’re not constantly being held hostage to the whims of your child.

First, assume that—no matter where you are—everything will take longer than planned. Allot more time than “should” be necessary to get ready and bring extra stuff with you: clothes, food, diapers, bottles and whatever you might need when things don’t go according to plan.

On that note, accept this is a unique stage in your life—when small handbags don’t have a much of a role. I learned this the hard way on the night I took my third baby to a fancy restaurant. Because he was my third, I was too cool to bring an ugly, bulky diaper bag. Of course, he proceeded to make some pretty impressive sounds during dinner and took a poop that soiled his clothes. Determined not to ruin my night out, I stripped him down in the tiny, elegant bathroom, rinsed him in the sink and wrapped him up in a tablecloth I’d snatched in desperation. I then dumped him back in his car seat so I could finish my meal.

Clearly, nothing goes as planned with babies, but preparation and a willingness to go with the flow will reduce that awful feeling of lack of control.

You are trying to make sense of your new role

No matter how helpful your partner, spouse, friends or relatives may be regarding baby care, you are still very likely to feel periods of anger and resentment. This screaming, demanding little person has burst on the scene and turned your life upside down—and there’s no way to avoid being the main attraction, especially if you’re nursing.

The best defense is to make time for joy. Get out of the house, take walks, relish the quiet times, nap with baby and don’t expect to be productive. Take time to laugh at and with your child. Babies offer a great excuse for making funny sounds and silly faces. I enjoyed taking pictures of my infants in funny settings, like the laundry basket with underwear on their head. Just think—you can blackmail them later when they’re teens and refusing to clean their rooms!

Having emotions that aren’t all teddy bears and lullabies doesn’t make you a bad mom. If you feel fearful, inadequate, out of control, and resentful more often than not, you deserve some help. Postpartum depression is treatable, and asking for help makes you a great mom. A new baby is hard, but it’s not supposed to be torment. I hope these strategies help you find the joy of motherhood in all its unexpected glory and controlled chaos.

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Sometimes inspiration just strikes.

Diana, our Motherly Experts Editor, had a moment just like that. The result was magic. "I was tucking my middle guy in, and he was all toddler-perfect... lost in a sea of blankets, so cute and little, and I just had this moment of, "wow, one day he is going to be a grown up, and someone else is going to love him..." And the rest is history :)" These poignant moments of motherhood touch the heart in immeasurable ways...balh able bla

After the tears have dried, this unique story, inspired by the overflow of love in a mother's heart, stays with you for a loooong time and is bound to resonate in your heart fas long as a mother's love remains for her child, long after they've left home. That's motherly. And, that's Motherly.

"To the person who falls in love with my son" went viral.

This video, more than the sum of its parts, has provided an overall experience that has transcended its concept, writing, execution, quality of craft—and heart.

• It has been viewed 26,387,039 times.


• It has reached 58,287,532 people.


• It has garnered 2,363,086 social engagements (comments, likes, and shares).


This video elevates what is in plain sight to something timeless, universal, and memorable. Bound to live in the heart of anyone who views it, this video is destined for legend in the parenting community online. Our innovative strategy, tactics and creativity combine to succeed at truly engaging our community.

Motherly not only has over 3X the engagement of competitors in the parenting space but also across women's interest and lifestyle categories.

FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS VS. ENGAGEMENT RATE

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With a clean and direct design aesthetic, our content does not get lost in the overload that is so endemic to other brands. Our unique sense of honesty and our authentic and emotional content connect with our community of engaged Millennial moms across channels to deliver results that empower and inspire. Through the powerful lens of motherhood, our content generates mom-to-mom sharing and valuable conversation, unlike any other brand.




Meet Motherly.
We are a community–driven lifestyle brand redefining motherhood. Motherly occupies a unique position in the media landscape, sitting at the intersection of parenting, lifestyle and women's interests to address her entire life and connect her more fully.

At Motherly we have a voice.

We are the only positive, encouraging parenting site reaching and influencing Millennial moms when they are looking for and absorbing more information, products and services than during any other life transition. How we think, act, and express ourselves is why we have built such a strong community of mamas.

Our community engages across all platforms, at Motherly, on Instagram and on Facebook, because mamas are on the move.

Motherly supports mamas through their entire parenthood journey, delivering women-centric content that addresses her whole lifestyle through thousands of articles, images, videos and classes each month with Mom-to-mom insights, inspiration and empowerment.

Our innovative strategy, tactics and creativity combine to succeed at truly engaging our community.

With a clean and direct design aesthetic, our content does not get lost in the overload that is so endemic to other brands. Our approach to content and how it is presented crosses all platforms for a cohesive and truly branded aesthetic that is fresh, clear and direct, always light and enlightening.

With a unique sense of honesty, our authentic and emotional content connects with our community of engaged Millennial moms across channels to deliver results that empower and inspire. Through the powerful lens of motherhood, our content generates mom-to-mom sharing and valuable conversation, unlike any other brand.

Motherly not only has over 3X the engagement of competitors in the parenting space but also across women's interest and lifestyle categories.


FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS VS. ENGAGEMENT RATE

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Sources: Facebook Analytics 2018


The synergy of our compelling content, pure aesthetic and fully engaged community has afforded us staggering fan growth.

In October, 2017, we doubled down on our engagement strategy to reach our community with our innovative approach to content and realized a stunning fan growth of 442% over the following twelve months.



That "something" extra...

Through our social presence—encompassing concept, creativity, content, structure, visual design, functionality and interactivity—women are encouraged and have the confidence to know, "I've got this". As savvy, digital natives, Millennial mamas take Motherly everywhere for information, inspiration, and empowerment—we are the brand that helps her redefine what it means to be motherly, every day.

Vacationing with a baby isn't for the faint of heart. But while it typically means more luggage (hello, travel-friendly bassinets, clothes for all seasons, and more diapers than you can shake a boarding pass at!), it's still possible to have a fun, memorable adventure with your little ones―especially with the right equipment.

Our favorite family vacation saver? The right baby carrier, like BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air. The breathable, mesh design is perfect for a variety of climates, while the supportive construction will help you stay comfortable while you trek across your favorite destination.

One of our favorite family-friendly locales? Los Angeles. That's why we teamed up with LA mama extraordinaire Magin Birrenkott to share the best places to play in La-La Land when you have little ones in tow.

DO

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Perfect for your little dinosaur lovers, the famous Tar Pits and art museum feature something for everyone. Take the tar pit tour to learn more about excavation, or simply let the little ones run around the park to see the variety of sculptures. The museum features a Fossil Lab, atrium, and even a 3D theater to learn more. "You can have lunch and play on the grassy areas around the tar pits and fossil areas, as well as grab a coffee and stroll through the different art exhibits around the park," Birrenkott recommends.

Kidspace Children's Museum
Who says vacation can't also be educational? This incredible children's museum helps your little ones learn about everything from physics to biology―all through the power of play. Babies can face out in the Baby Carrier One so they'll have plenty to look at while staying snuggled up to you. Bigger kids will love experiencing the indoor and outdoor exhibits. Note: Several attractions feature water play, so pack a spare outfit for any kids who like to get messy.

Magin navigating a day out in LA with two little people and one free hand, thanks to the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air.

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Lions, tigers, bears...and more! The LA Zoo is home to a variety of animals from around the world―all of which your kiddos will love to admire. The bird show and giraffe feedings are especially popular hits. "Make sure to plan the short trek to the giraffes between 11:00-12:00 and 2:30-3:30. For $5 you get three branches and are able to feed them up close and personal!" Birrenkott says.

Move your little one to your back in the Baby Carrior One Air so they can get close to the action too. "We like to go at the very beginning since they can get full and sometimes walk away if there were too many people in front of you." After letting the kids run out their energy in the zoo, the Botanical Gardens make the perfect spot to relax and have lunch. "There's a beautiful grassy area that's quiet where you can set a blanket and enjoy the beautiful LA weather. And for us struggling tired mamas, there's a coffee shop that has the most amazing lattes and cappuccinos. Huge win."

SEE

The El Capitan Theatre

More than just a must-see on your tour of Hollywood, the El Capitan Theatre is an excellent spot for family memories. There are "Tiny Tot Tuesdays" for families with younger children (AKA, no one will give you a dirty look if your kiddo wants to sing along...or just throws a tantrum mid-show), and all of the family-friendly movies feature something extra, whether it's live Disney cast members, gift bags, or extra effects like confetti. Check the website to find out what is showing during your trip.

Aquarium of the Pacific
If your kids are fans of Finding Dory, they're going to love the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. With everything from penguins to sea otters to sharks (not to mention millions of fish in every shape, size, color), there's something to catch the eye of everyone in your family. The aquarium also features seasonal festivals and events, so check the calendar during your visit to make sure you don't miss their best shows. As for your littlest family members, they'll enjoy a comfy ride through the aquarium in their carrier.

"Our weather is all over the place sometimes, but in the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air, he didn't get sweaty at all!" Birrenkott says. "Plus, after two days of activities, my back is in one piece. I can babywear him all the time now!"

Traveling Tikes
Forget something at home? Traveling Tikes on Santa Monica Boulevard is the perfect spot to scoop up any baby gear that didn't make it into your suitcase―including the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One Air for easier travel around town. One other store we love? KIDSLAND on Wilshire Boulevard.


Making the time to explore is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family―and yourself. And thanks to BabyBjörn, now everyone can come along for the ride.

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

If there's anything better than dressing your kids up in adorable holiday outfits, it's gotta be matching them.

We rounded up seven of our favorite looks for this season. 🎁

1. Classic Christmas for kids

Go crisp, clean, classic and Christmassy with a Short Sleeve Smocked Holiday Dress from Feltman Brothers.

Short Sleeve Smocked Holiday Dress, Feltman Brothers, $67.95

BUY

Classic Christmas made modern for mama

Match your cotton cutie in a crisp and modern shirtdress that can last you far beyond Christmas.

Kowtow Monologue Shirt Dress, Garmentory, $93.00

BUY

2. Nordic-themed sweater set

Get cozy + complimentary with black and red family sweaters that you can wear all winter long.

Oh Sno Happy Christmas Collection, Hanna Andersson, $68 - $92

BUY

3. Matchy matchy mommy

A super-affordable option for the matchy matchy mama.

Emmababy Mommy and Me Matching Plaid Long Sleeve Shirt Dress + Princess Tulle Tutu Dress, $14.99

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4. Mommy + me tutus

Tutus make everything, including the holidays, a bit more magical. Grab a matching set to enjoy a twirl with your girl.

Mommy and Me Tulle Tutus, Etsy, $110.00

BUY

5. The perfect plaid dress

Quick! This one is perfect, grab it fast.

Ruffle Trim Babydoll Dress for Toddler Girls, Old Navy, $20.00

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Mama's plaid

Mama deserves ruffles and plaid, too.

Relaxed Plaid Twill Classic Shirt, $24.00, Old Navy

BUY

6. Best sweater set yet

Moms and sons can play match-up, too. Grab a sweater set you can return to the entire season.

Festivewear Sweater Sets, Boden, $55.00-$130.00

BUY

7. Big blue

Light up the night with Santa's sleigh and a sleek little number for mama.

Festive Big Applique Dress, Boden, $48.00

BUY

Blue for you, too

The perfect LBD (little blue dress).

Flippy Pencil Dress, Boden, $170.00

BUY

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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