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My 2-year-old son was home with the flu. He was sick and more sensitive than usual—as most of us are because we feel so vulnerable in this state. He broke his fever, and we had apple sauce together, chatting about our day. When he was done, I went to help wipe the remains on his mouth with the spoon but moved too quickly and caught his teeth. It was not a hard scrape; however, in the sheer raw spot of being under the weather, he sobbed and sobbed.

I quickly felt his sadness, but then immediately this other not-so-good emotion washed over me—shame. This was one of my early pivotal parenting moments.

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At this moment, I could have let my shame take over. When shame takes over, all we want is to get out of its discomfort—and in order to do so we often end up invalidating the other person involved to help ourselves feel better.

I had the urge to tell him, "It wasn't that hard," and "I didn't mean to," or "Okay that's enough, brush it off." All the emotionally invalidating expressions that end up making the situation about me and try to alleviate my own feelings.

I resisted the urge of what seemed so automatic, and instead, I just held him. I labeled his emotions of sadness and pain. And I apologized. I sat there, felt my shame and made a decision to put that on the side, and just stayed present with him. It wasn't about me. This wasn't my pain. Instead, I chose to stay present with him, let go of those hard thoughts and feelings, and stay connected. When he was ready, we resumed our chat and play.

Shame. As a psychologist, I am no stranger to this emotion. I see it daily in my office, but I, too, am familiar with this feeling. It is a core emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives.

Shame is the notion that one is unworthy, defective or a failure in some way. It is the "intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging," according to best-selling author and sociologist Brené Brown.

As one of the most painful emotions experienced, shame disconnects us from others, leading to feelings of isolation. Often times we don't even know we are feeling shame when it happens. Instead, we notice anger, sadness, fear, disgust, or many other emotions.

Not only do we not know what it looks like, it even triggers ways to respond just like I wanted to at the moment with my son: blame the other, deny their emotions or experience, or even withdraw, shut down and avoid situations or conversations altogether.

Yet despite its experience being universal, shame is rarely acknowledged or discussed in our culture.

Shame is a strong emotion that is correlated with mental health difficulties, low self-esteem, and relationship distress. Maybe as you are reading this you can think of moments in your own life when shame has reared its ugly head. Was it with your child as a parent? A romantic partner? Or maybe it was during an important work meeting where you said something and later didn't feel good about it. Perhaps it's even when you reach for that job promotion.

Learning to cope with shame can help improve self-worth, emotional health, and our relationships. So let's explore how we can deal with shame.

1. Identify and acknowledge the feeling

Our emotions provide us with the necessary information on what we need and how to change. Start by asking yourself what it feels like inside when you experience shame.

  • Is it a sinking feeling?
  • Is it sticky?
  • Maybe it's a churning feeling in your stomach, and you want to run away.
  • Or perhaps it always comes up in a certain situation, or it urges you to do something.
  • Do you shut down and walk away from others?
  • What does your internal dialogue say to you? "Uh oh, watch out, that wasn't the right thing to say. People will judge you. You are a screw-up. Why did you say that?" There's that voice that comes from this emotion—what does it tell you about you and who you are?

Next, differentiate between whether this is guilt or shame to help identify what you need.

Feelings of guilt result in the thought of "I have done something wrong" or the behavior is not helpful. Guilt can be a healthy emotion. It tells us that somehow our behavior was not correct and that we should try something different next time.

For example, if you feel guilty after eating too many cookies, next time you may try to limit the number you eat. That's okay. We make mistakes. Allow yourself to make a mistake, change the behavior, and move forward.

Shame, however, is like quicksand—sinking quickly and struggling against it. Ask yourself, "Do I feel like I am a bad person?"

At times, the act of just acknowledging an emotion (e.g., "I notice myself feeling shame") can help. When I'm working with clients in my office, we attach an image to it. One client described the sensation of sinking in a hole and not being able to find a ladder. When the emotion comes again, we can notice it quicker, and I can say "Emily, you're in the hole again without the ladder," and she knows we are talking about shame.

2. Fail, and try to fail better

Perfectionism is a driving force that often leads to shame. We tell ourselves to do things perfectly and hold ourselves to high and unachievable standards. Although this drive can help us achieve, this drive becomes a problem when we begin to feel like a failure or not worthy when we do not meet our standards.

Perhaps it's a work project, or a friendship or a relationship.

Maybe its what you thought you would accomplish in a certain amount of time.

Or, as a mom, struggling to feel good enough in your parenting decisions (e.g., "I must always make gourmet meals; I need to create fun activities to do with my children all the time").

Shame lurks behind these standards and self-evaluations.

What if instead of trying to be perfect, you tried to make mistakes. That's a framework shift!

Pema Chödrön, a teacher of Buddhism, teaches us to "Fail. Fail again. Fail better." What does this mean? This means that in life, we will never stop failing or stop facing challenges. It is just not possible. It is part of the human condition—one that we all face—that we will at some point fail, or experience something difficult.

Instead of trying to avoid failure by putting these high expectations on ourselves, try allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to show when you are struggling and not getting something, and to just be okay with this. So let go of trying to be perfect, and take those risks that shame has been stopping you from doing!

3. Acceptance and letting go

There are things in life we cannot control. We cannot control events or situations that are outside of us or other people. We also cannot control our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and feelings are spontaneous.

Yet I so often hear from clients in my office that they want to 'just control' or 'get rid' of their difficult emotions and thoughts. I will let you in on a secret. I would not have a job if I had a way to get rid of your painful thoughts and feelings.

So where does that leave us? Instead of trying to make something go away—which, the more you try to get away from something, the more it finds you—try bringing acceptance into what you are experiencing.

This means that you can hold your thoughts and feelings in a nonjudgmental manner: they are just thoughts and feelings. Instead of trying to hold on to thoughts so tightly—where instead of telling yourself "I failed… I'm a failure… I'm not good enough… I can't get anything right"—maybe you notice this thought, notice what your mind is telling you, and seeing this as just bits of language put together.

Learning to be aware of your thoughts and feelings and letting these go can be done through mindfulness.

According to author Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is comprised of two components: awareness of one's internal experience as it is happening in the moment, and nonjudgment of the experience.

Through mindfulness, try bringing a sense of openness, kindness, and curiosity to your shame.

Next, imagine putting the thoughts and feelings on a leaf, and then letting the leaf gently float by as if in a stream or caught in the wind.

Mindfulness takes repeated practice, and it is meant to be challenging. Our minds are really good at pulling us away from what is happening in the moment. Try checking out different apps and podcasts that walk you through different mindfulness exercises. My personal favorites are Calm and Head Space.

4. Talking to significant others

We all need and long for emotional validation and connection. We are hard-wired to connect. But shame stops us from connecting with others. Fear comes up for many people at the thought of sharing hard feelings, with thoughts of "what will they think of me?" and "will they reject me?" Yet sharing with our loved ones how we feel is a great way to slay shame. Their empathy and understanding will help normalize what you are feeling, and they might even have ways to cope with it.

To share this hard emotion, you will need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Keep in mind that shame is a human emotion; remember that we all experience this problematic emotion.

Start by setting up the conversation. Let your friend or partner know that you want to talk about something challenging for you. Use first person language, with "I feel…" or "I'm struggling with…" Start by sharing small things.

Often, by opening up to others, we realize that we are not alone in our feelings and that others might be experiencing similar feelings as well.

5. Engage in what you find meaningful

We cannot wholly eliminate shame from our experience. Therefore, it is vital not to let shame stop you from living your life and engaging in what is important. In their book Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Hayes et. al. cite an evidence-based approach for treating anxiety and depressive disorders, posits that we must "ACT:"

Accept (A) what we cannot change

Commit (C) ourselves to what is important in our lives

Take (T) action in what we find meaningful

Perhaps being connected with friends is important—so taking action to meet up with them. Or sitting and playing with your child is significant, instead of feeling shame and worry that they are "not playing in the right way" or if you "did enough" for them today.

Engage in something that brings meaning to you—that fills you up—to help fight those feelings of shame.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

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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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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