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I had a wakeup call when my kids said ‘work’ was my favorite thing to do

If I would have known then what I know now, I wouldn't have asked.

Scratch that.

If I would have known then what I know now, I probably would have asked sooner.

“Without prompting, ask your children these questions.” I know you've seen this little activity on Facebook before—you’ve probably had at least one or two friends share it. Perhaps you've already challenged your little ones to the test and laughed over the results, or had an aha-moment because of it like me.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge and asked my 3-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son these simple questions about me. I was sleep deprived, and was honestly just hoping for a good laugh.

However, I definitely got more than I bargained for.

1. How old is Mommy?
5-year-old: You are 50 or 60.
3-year-old chimes in: Or maybe you're 4!

2. How tall is mommy?
3-year-old: Big! Like 40 pounds or 20 feet.

3. What is Mommy's favorite thing to eat?
In unison: Salad! Oh my gosh, Mommy, you lovvvvve salad.
Me: eye roll. ?

4. What is something Mommy says a lot?
5-year-old: “Hurry up! We're going to be late!”

5. What is Mom's favorite color?
5-year-old: Green.
3-year-old: My favorite color is pink. Hey mom, when are we having lunch?

6. How much does Mommy love you?
5-year-old: A lot. You love us when you hug me and when we listen.
3-year-old: I want water please. This is exhausting.

7. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
3-year-old: Work.
5-year-old: Work.

8. What does Mommy do that annoys you?
3-year-old: When you sing, you really hurt my ears.
5-year-old: It annoys me when you work and don’t play with us.

9. If Mommy could go anywhere, where would she go?
Long pause.
Both kids: You’d probably go to work.

*I'm awake now.*

I’m not going to lie—I had to basically pick my jaw up off the floor and put together the broken pieces of my heart.

Is this really what they see, hear, and feel about me—their mother?

I work from home which means that my kids actually see me working. A lot. This is my choice. I know it's not for everyone, but I love my job and I love my kids.

So I am just trying to make both of them work for me, the best way I know how right now. It's important to me that my children witness me working. I want them to know that it's not just dad that helps support this family. By working at home, I help pay the bills and I hope to promote strong work ethic within my children.

I used to work full time in the news business, which meant I didn't have flexibility. I had to stop breastfeeding early because reporting on a house fire and jumping in a live truck to pump wasn't really feasible. I couldn't leave work early if a child was sick when I was reporting on a homicide on the other side of the state. I know there are a lot of parents in similar situations. We’re all just doing what we can, right?

I wanted to leave my career, and I don't take that for granted. I realize this is a privilege I have. I know there are many mothers who would love to have that option. I also know there are many mothers who thrive on daily adult interaction at their place of employment and they couldn't imagine leaving the workforce to stay home with their kiddos.

Working from home has a different set of challenges. I'm here, but I'm not.

The truth is—working from home, working out of the home, or staying at home with our children all have their own unique challenges and their own unique perks.

For me, with working from home, it's difficult to set my phone down when my daughter wants to show me the same sheet of paper for the 68th time. "Mommy, look! This time I drew a fifth arm on your head."

It's challenging to step away from my laptop when my son needs help finding the smallest Lego piece in existence at the bottom of a toy box mixed in with a pile of broken crayons, rouge puzzle pieces and old stickers.

I get distracted from work by my children and from my children by work.

"Mommy! Please set your phone down and look at me!" I'm embarrassed to admit I hear this a lot. But this is my truth, and the truth of a lot of working parents, I’d imagine.

So, kids, I'm now turning the attention of this article from my work to you.

Here are my answers to the questions I recently asked you.

1. How old is Mommy? I am 35.

2. How tall is Mommy? I am tall enough to hold both of you in my arms at one time.

3. What is Mommy's favorite thing to eat? Any meal with you two and your daddy.

4. What is something Mommy says a lot? I love you.

5. What is Mommy's favorite color? Yellow.

6. How much does Mommy love you? More than you could ever possibly imagine.

7. What is mommy's favorite thing to do? Laugh with you. Cuddle you. Wipe your tears. Pray with you. Kiss you goodnight.

8. What do I do that annoys you? Work, I think. Or how much work I do.

This isn't going to change, but finding a balance will. I'm challenging myself to step away from my work when you need me to. I'm trying not rush to the phone with every alert I get. I'm walking away from my laptop when you frantically need help with your shoe laces.

I'm trying. I'm really, really trying. And I will never stop trying. I'm attempting to find balance in parenting and maintaining a career. It isn't easy, but it's well worth the challenge.

9. If Mommy could go anywhere, where would she go? Anywhere with you. I will probably bring my work as well, but I promise I will always pack a healthy dose of balance, too.

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

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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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.

Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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