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Girls can be anything—so why are we still stereotyping boys?

A world in which boys are allowed to be who they are—just as much as any girl—is a better world for all of us.

Girls can be anything—so why are we still stereotyping boys?

Girl power.

Girls can do anything boys can do.

She's got this.

We are living—proudly—through an era of women's empowerment. A movement that was long overdue, desperately needed, and still unfinished. As the mother of a 3-year-old girl, I am grateful for the courage and tenacity of the feminist movement making it possible.

Girls growing up in our world today increasingly know that they can dream as big as any boy. They're no longer held back by gender stereotypes. It's no longer acceptable to humiliate a boy by telling him he's acting like a girl, or that he throws like a girl, or looks like a girl. Girls and women are finally, FINALLY, beginning to be respected on par with boys and men.

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But as comments by Good Morning America's Lara Spencer reveal, we still have a long way to go when it comes to how we treat our sons.

Spencer, who last week joked that 6-year-old Prince George is unlikely to stick with ballet—boys being boys, and all that—has issued a tearful apology after righteous outrage spun the parenting world into a frenzy.

Who is she to say that boys can't enjoy ballet?

But Spencer was merely reflecting the current moment in our culture, one that increasingly cheers all the options and power afforded to girls, but still traps boys and men into outdated, harmful stereotypes.

Studies show that "parents are more comfortable with girls partaking in gender-nonconforming behavior than boys and attempt to change their sons' behaviors more frequently." Researchers found that parents of young boys today were not okay with their sons partaking in traditionally-female activities, like playing dolls, while they were okay with their daughters indulging in traditionally-male activities, like playing sports.

In other words, it's okay for girls to "be anything," but it's not okay for boys. Boys who show their softer sides are still scoffed at (sometimes on national television), or told to toughen up, or required to "act like a man." They're laughed at, humiliated and mocked.

Boys deserve just as much as girls the chance to be anything they wish—without mockery.

So as the mother of three sons, I welcome Spencer's tearful apology. Lara, apology accepted.

I want us to seize this moment as a culture and to recognize that as much as girls need advancement in areas of leadership, business, science, boys need a revolution in the arts, empathy, emotional development, and domestic life. It's time for men to break out of the narrow stereotypes that society has placed on them.

A world in which boys are allowed to be who they are—just as much as any girl—is a better world for all of us.

It's a world of emotionally-intelligent men walking alongside women as equals.

It's a world where guys who are hurting get mental help support, instead of turning to violence or self-harm.

It's a world where boys can grow up knowing they can be or do anything—be it a doctor, or a nurse, an airplane pilot or a teacher.

It's a world where fathers are no longer referred to as babysitters, where there are changing tables in every men's bathroom, where paternity leave is the norm and where the mental load of parenthood is shared with men.

And this is the world I long for my sons and my daughter. It's wrong to stereotype girls and it should be just as wrong to stereotype boys, too.

So as Spencer said in her apology this week, "I have learned about the bravery that it takes for a young boy to pursue a career in dance," "From ballet to anything one wants to explore in life, I say GO FOR IT. I fully believe we should all be free to pursue our passions. Go climb your mountain and love every minute of it."

So to Prince George, my sons, and all the boys who dare to live the life they've imagined: It's time to dance like no one's watching. Because soon, they'll be dancing, too.

Watch this viral video of a boy crushing his dance routine, posted by Mark Kanemura in response to Spencer's comment:

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These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.


Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin


Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


This article was sponsored by Nature's Way. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

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