I became a better mom the moment I decided to focus on what I’m doing *right*

You have so many parenting wins to celebrate.

I became a better mom the moment I decided to focus on what I’m doing *right*

I’ve read so many articles over the last few years where mothers beat themselves up for their ‘failures’ of motherhood. If they aren’t outright condemning past mistakes they may be taking a perceived fault and looking at the silver lining.

I mean, I make mistakes and wish I had done things differently sometimes, too—of course. And I know I can look at how things turned out in the end and realize that mostly everything worked out fine for me and my children.

But instead of just focusing on when things go wrong or when I feel less than perfect, I wondered, are their any parenting wins I can celebrate? Is there anything I can pat myself on the back for?

The most amazing thing happened.

When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I’m doing quite a few things well—even the simplest things felt really good when I looked at them with this perspective.

1. Chatting with my baby

I talked to my babies constantly. From the moment they entered the world. I wasn’t one of those moms that talked to them in utero (not that there's anything wrong with that.) But once I formally met my infants, we quickly developed a bond.

I don’t think it was because they sensed I was their mother, but because we worked on creating that bond together. I even did introductions and a firm handshake (though, not too firm because #babyhands.)

I felt that, if they were going to sit there and stare at me expectantly day in and day out, I should let them know what they were in for. I talked about how I was feeling. I talked about the people they were going to meet. I talked about colors. When we were in the car I talked about the cows.

Here is where I have to tell you how I got extra credit. In the car I sang to them and chatted constantly. I was hyper aware of them being in the car with me because I was telling them about the jogger that was coming along on their left. I pretended I was giving a Hollywood tour some mornings, letting them know I had heard rumors that the Bubble Guppies lived in the pond on the right, and that Elmo was known to frequent the bar on the left. ?

2. Asking for help when I needed it

After I had my babies. I had, what I would describe as, a euphoric feeling for at least 36 hours where I was a mother goddess who was at peace with everything around me. I felt like I probably needed a toga and maybe a white horse to ride around while carrying my baby. (Luckily the sheets were tightly tucked in on the corners or visiting hours at the hospital would have gotten very awkward. ?)

After the 36 hours, though, reality hit really hard. With my first baby, it hit me in the form of tears. Lots and lots of tears. I cried because I was so happy. I cried because the baby was seeing me cry and I was very afraid of her seeing me cry. (Because all I could think of is her sitting in a chair at a therapist's office in twenty years talking about how it was her fault that her mom cried all the time!) I cried because I felt like I was failing. I cried because I wanted so much to feel like that mother goddess again, but it was gone. So I asked for help.

I went to the doctor and I told them that I was not doing well. I quickly received help. At the time, I didn’t like that I needed the help, but boy did it make a difference once I admitted it and received it. (My daughter probably still will need therapy, but for totally different things. ?)

3. I teach and model good manners

We use manners with each other, while out in public, and even while we play. I have found it to be super helpful to incorporate manners into play specifically, because it gives us the perfect opportunity for me to model respect, kindness and manners and she can practice in a safe space.

I mean, some may say that when my daughter was telling me to be the mom witch and she was being my baby witch that we didn’t need to say please and thank you. But you know what I say about that? I don’t care if we are talking about giving the baby witch giant eyeball soup. She can say “Mama witch, may I please have giant eyeball soup with a side of worms?”

I think it’s important for us to stop and reflect on what we’re doing right in a world that loves to focus on what we’re doing wrong or where we’re failing or how we’re not perfect.

Because what we may find, is that we actually are kind of perfect in our own little ways.

So, mama? I hope you find your list long, and your heart full. Because, you’ve got this.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

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Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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