I went to see Disney’s Moana with my daughter and some friends when it came out in theaters. It was fun, exciting and entertaining as most Disney movies are, but this story stood out to me.

Here’s why.

At the end of the movie (SPOILER ALERT), Moana and her demigod companion, Maui, while on their quest to give back the mystical heart to the goddess of the island Te Fiti, encounter a terrifying lava monster who they believe is preventing them from fulfilling their mission.

First, they try to fight the monster, but to no avail—the monster only grows angrier. Soon, Moana discovers that the terrifying monster is actually the goddess of the island Te Fiti herself, who has turned into a fierce lava monster because she has lost her heart.


Armed with this realization, she does something completely counterintuitive, yet incredibly powerful and effective. She stands strong, calm and unafraid, and tells the monster that she knows who it truly is.

This act of kindness calms the monster, and inspires it to move towards Moana to reclaim its heart, thereby transforming back into the loving island of Te Fiti.

As I held my scared daughter on my lap, I was blown away by how perfectly this final scene serves as a metaphor for parenting. In our daily lives, our children will inevitably explode with anger. They will become irrational, fierce and (sometimes) completely lose control — just like the lava monster.

When this happens, we have an important choice about how we respond to them when they have “lost their hearts,” so to speak.

We can respond with fear, by withholding love, by fighting back, or trying to “put them in their place,” all in a futile attempt to stop their emotional “lava.” As you can guess, none of these strategies ultimately work in these most desperate moments, and certainly not in the long run.

Just like in the movie, these tactics will cause our children’s “lava” to grow bigger and fiercer, and we will feel defeated, exhausted, and most importantly, we will be unable to find common ground with our children.

Instead, our children need us to make the most unlikely move and understand that their anger is a cry for help. They need us to be like Moana: grounded, unafraid, loving, and empathic.

When they yell horrible words, attempt to hurt us, or just lose themselves completely, this must signal to us that they need our strength and empathy the most. They need us to believe in who they really are and take a stand for them when they can’t for themselves.

We all have a monster inside us who can rear its ugly head when we feel threatened, tired, hungry or are simply having a hard day. We must see underneath our children’s “monster” selves, and understand what is happening inside them. When our children are behaving the worst, perhaps they have “lost their hearts,” and they need us to return it to them.

So, the next time my daughter has a total meltdown, I will try to remember this powerful scene, and think to myself, What Would Moana Do? And if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll try a musical number—that might work, too.

Originally posted on HuffPost.

By this point, you can probably roll with whatever parenthood throws your way—whether that's changing diapers, powering through a long day after a sleepless night, or soothing a sick little one. Learning on the job like this isn't always easy, but we bet your teeny boss is giving you a winning performance review.

Around the 5-month mark, your baby is probably doing some rolling of their own, too! At this point, your baby is endlessly curious and naturally grabby, so make sure you're giving them a safe place to explore while you cheer them on from the sidelines.

Of course, cheerleading is just one of the many, many roles you play throughout the day. Your multitasking skills are pushed to the limit, but it's important to carve out time for yourself. And hopefully everyone in your house is now enjoying longer stretches of sleep, with the dreaded 4-month sleep regression a thing of the past.

As is always the case with parenthood, new challenges are around the corner. The good news? These products can get you prepared for them.

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For banishing cradle cap: Fridababy cradle cap system


If your baby's scalp is looking a little reptilian, rest assured that cradle cap is a common issue. Thankfully, it's also conquerable with an easy three-step method to lather, loosen and lift away the flakes.


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For safe sleep: Graco pack-n-play

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Experts advise always putting your baby to sleep on a flat, firm surface. So, if your baby is getting snoozy when you aren't by the crib, a pack-n-play is a great, portal option. As a bonus, the space can pull double-duty as a playard when your baby is awake.


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What about a little something for you, mama? Since your time is a precious commodity, having good skin can help streamline your getting ready routine. A good face cream does the miracle work of making your skin appear vibrant—even if you were up with a baby throughout the night.


A simple way to show off your pictures: Polaroid digital photo frame

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There's no excuse to let your favorite photos languish on your phone's camera roll! A digital photo frame makes it so simple to see your favorite memories with baby over and over again.


For reclaiming your car: Brica trunk organizer and changing station

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Your car is probably filling up with quite the assortment of baby gear. Rather than sacrifice your passenger seat to a stockpile of wipes and diapers, clear the clutter with a trunk organizer.


The hands-free assistant you always needed: Lenovo smart clock

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For keeping coffee hot: Ello Jane travel mug

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If peacefully sitting and drinking your morning coffee feels like a distant memory, you can lessen the sting with a lidded mug that keeps your drink hot until you are actually able to take a sip. Mom win!


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

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