If you need to sit and have a good cry—let it all out

Take a breath, take a break, and take care of yourself for a bit.

If you need to sit  and have a good cry—let it all out

At first, maternity leave was going pretty well for me. My second son, Simon, was born just four weeks ago, and I also have a three-year-old little boy named Henry. Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I was hormonal. Yes, I was slightly irritated by the fact that my toddler was whining so much, but I had a great support system.

My husband and my mom, both teachers, were on summer break so when I needed a nap or a breath of fresh air it was only a phone call away. I had friends visiting to meet the baby and people bringing food over.


Then last week things changed. My husband and mom both went back to work. The baby wasn’t so new anymore and the visitors stopped coming by. It was also my birthday (33 years old!) and Henry’s first day of preschool. Plus, you know, having a newborn on top of it all.

I should have been excited right? A birthday and a milestone for my little man? Nope. The hormones were on high alert. Henry cried when I dropped him off at preschool. I had to pull the car over after I got out of the parking lot so I could cry. I picked him up later to find out he had an accident on his first day, which broke my heart.

I had to just sit on my couch let the tears flow. I sobbed almost all day long. I don’t know if it was because the baby was restless and didn’t want to sleep, or maybe it was because I felt guilty that Henry had an accident on his first day of school, or that I was just plain exhausted.

I let myself sit on the couch and cry into my third cup of coffee for probably four straight hours. I texted my mother-in-law and she offered to come get the baby. I said no at first. I needed to pull it together. But then I realized I needed a break. I needed rest. I needed to worry about me for a couple hours.

So as a birthday present to myself, I took a nap. And then I took a shower. Crazy how something that small made such a huge difference. I still didn’t feel like me—that will take a few more weeks—but I was no longer a hot, sobbing mess.

After I got some rest and washed my hair for the first time in who knows how long, I reminded myself that this stage won’t last forever. I had a bad day. And I will have more bad days. But there will be good days too. Hormones and babies and toddlers and birthdays that make you feel old will do crazy things to you.

So if you’re reading this on the couch on your phone at 3am while feeding your newborn, and you’re absolutely exhausted, just remember: It won’t be like this forever.

If you’re reading this while hiding in the bathroom from your toddler because they haven’t let you be alone for the last week and a half, just remember: It won’t be like this forever.

I know they say to treasure these times—that the days are long, but the years are short. Yes, sometimes the days are long. Really, really long. Because you haven’t gotten more than two hours of sleep. Because you don’t remember the last time you took an uninterrupted shower. Because parenting is exhausting and so much harder than I personally ever imagined.

It’s okay if you don’t treasure every single day with your little ones. Because being a parent isn’t easy, and sometimes your kids can drive you absolutely crazy. So walk away. Lock yourself in the bathroom. Let the baby cry for ten minutes so you can go in another room and take a breather. Go for a walk. Let your mom or neighbor or anyone who offers watch the kiddo for a couple hours. Have a good cry if you need it.

We devote our entire lives to our children. It’s okay to take a break. You deserve it. And just remember: It won’t be like this forever.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

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.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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