I miss saying yes

Parenting through a pandemic means So. Much. No.

i miss saying yes

There's a lot I miss right now about my pre-pandemic life as a mom. I miss the obvious things, of course, like having a school-day routine that felt comfortable and achievable for both me and my daughter—as opposed to crisis-schooling, the only honest name for what we're currently muddling our way through.

I miss walking to and from school together holding hands. I miss being able to snatch some time to myself after school drop off, and after bedtime, too. Now any child-free minutes I have are claimed by work, household logistics or catching up on the news. I miss free time.


But a dear friend recently expressed something that feels unexpectedly tough about parenting through this pandemic—something I didn't realize I was missing until she said it.

"I miss saying yes," she said. "I feel like all I do these days is say no. No, I can't do that right now. No, I can't play with you or read to you right now. No, we can't do that. No, we can't see friends yet. No, I don't have time. I just miss being able to say yes to stuff with my kids."

This friend, she's a lot like me—like a lot of us, really— working from home while trying to manage our kids' school obligations and our own fears and anxieties. We all have eleventy-million jobs right now and we have no choice but to do them simultaneously, in the same place: parent, employee, tutor, therapist, home logistics expert—not to mention grocery shopping tactician and personal chef. (Instead of living through this dystopian-future novel about online shopping carts, can I please upgrade to a cooler one with some lasers and aliens?)

I have it comparatively easy—I'm employed, we're healthy, we're safe. But even so, I can't believe I used to think being a working mom was hard. It was hard, don't get me wrong. But this? This has totally reset what I used to think was hard.

Because as hard as it used to be to balance and juggle everything—and it was a challenge that demanded a lot from all of us, every day—at least I felt like I'd managed our family life to a point where I could say yes to things that felt important, doable or just fun. Yes, let's do a family vacation. Yes, let's stay up late and watch a movie together. Yes, I'll sit on the couch and read to you even though I know you can read it yourself (any excuse to snuggle up with you, kiddo).

The demands on our time, these days—these packed-to-the-brim and yet weirdly empty days—just make it feel impossible to do what all the experts are saying to do, for our own sanity: Slow down. Say yes.

Yes to creativity, to comfort, to affection and kindness. Yes to fun, to exercise, to deep breaths. Yes to "good enough." Yes to "five more minutes, Mama."

As much as I want that—and I do know it'd be good for me—still, so often I have to say no. So. Much. No. No, Dad's in a meeting. No, we can't go to the store for that. No, there's no soccer this year. No, we can't really do a birthday party this year. No, I'm so sorry ladybug, I have to do this other thing right now.

But even as I write this, and even as I wholeheartedly agreed with my friend that night on the phone, I know there's really not much preventing me from slowing down long enough to say yes—not as much as I think, anyway.

My partner and I need to keep our family working, healthy and safe. But beyond that, there's got to be room for more yes. For my own sake as much as my child's.

So here's my new mantra: Slow down. Say yes.

<p> Siobhan Adcock is the Experts Editor at Motherly and the author of two novels about motherhood, <a href="" target="_blank">The Completionist</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">The Barter</a>. Her writing has also appeared in Romper, Bustle, Ms., McSweeney's, Slate, Salon, The Daily Beast, The Chicago Review of Books and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. </p>

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 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.

Our Partners

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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.


"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."

Keep reading Show less