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I’m not a better mom than you because of my lifestyle. (And vice-versa.)

“I had a great mom because she only fed us organic food.” — No adult ever

I’m not a better mom than you because of my lifestyle. (And vice-versa.)

Girlfriends, I got to get something off my chest.


My house is never clean. Like ever. I have friends (with kids) whose houses are spotless. Are they better mothers than me? Nope. Am I a better mother than them? Nope.

I work out every day. I have mom friends who don't exercise. (I mean other than running around like crazy people after their kids). Does that make either of us a better mom? Nope.

I have a friend who gave birth in a pool in her living room. I pushed mine out in a hospital bed after receiving a gift from the epidural fairy. Both of us are good moms.

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I drink a beer or glass of wine (sometimes in front of my kids!) on occasion. I'm a good mom. My neighbor and good friend doesn't drink. Also a good mom.

I'm a yeller. I have a good friend who is quiet and extremely patient. I envy her. But we are both good moms.

I have friends who are super organic, chemical free and dye free. My kids sometimes eat popsicles for breakfast. The cheap kind that are 50 for $2.00. Are either of us better than the other? Nope.

I swear, but not in front of my kids. Are you a bad mom if you do? Hell no.

I'm involved with my kids' school but I don't volunteer and live there every day. Are the moms who volunteer daily any better than those who never do? No. Am I incredibly grateful for the moms who volunteer every day and help the teachers? YES.

Are stay-at-home moms better than working moms? NO.

Are working moms better than stay-at-home moms? NO.

Are married moms better than single moms? NO.

Are you a better mom if you take your kids on exotic vacations? NO.

Can you be a good mom if you the closest thing you get to a vacation is the park? YES.

Can you be a good mom and have a super scheduled summer with lots of planned activities? Yep.

What about if your summer is lazy with no plans? Yep.

Do good moms let their kids watch TV? Yes.

Play video games? Yes.

What about if you say no? Also fine. Your choice. You're the mom. And a good one.

I'm a Christian. My friend and neighbor is Muslim. Another friend practices no religion at all. WE ARE ALL GOOD MOTHERS.

My other friend is gay. Her kids have TWO mothers. They are both good moms.

I breastfed. My kids barely had any formula. Am I better than moms who give their kids formula? NO.

So how about this? Can we all climb down off judgmental mountain for a second? And just support one another? And just say, Hey, motherhood is hard. You're doing a good job. Raising kids can knock the wind out of a person. You’ve got this.

How awesome would that be? Just a thought.

In This Article

    You will always be their safe space, mama

    You are their haven. Their harbor. Their sanctuary, their peace. You are comfort. Deep breaths. Hugs and back rubs. You're a resting place, a nightmare chaser, a healer. You are the calm within their storm. You are their mother.

    To your child, you are safety. You are security. You are where (out of anyone or any place), they can come undone. Where they can let it all out, let it all go. Where they meltdown, break down, scream, cry, push.

    Where they can say—"I AM NOT OKAY!"

    Where they can totally lose it. Without judgment or fear or shame.

    Because they know you'll listen. They know you'll hear them. That you will help piece the mess back together.

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    Life

    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    We've watched Reese Witherspoon's Big Little Lies character go to great lengths to hide the truth, but in real life the mother of three is way more honest than her fictional character.

    She proved as much when she took to Youtube to share her real thoughts on parenting, when the right time to have children might be, and the most important thing all parents need to succeed.

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