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It's noon and the day is well on its way. But I'm not.

I'm feeling sluggish and a little down so I shamble off for another cup of coffee in the hope that it will spark some motivation. Walking by my closet mirror, I catch sight of myself—still in my rumpled jammies, slippers and robe, hair everywhere and traces of yesterday's make-up still on my face—and I look like the end of the day, instead of the beginning. And I think, maybe what I really need is not another cup of joe, but a makeover instead? That seems too far from reach at the moment, and I decide the next best thing might be to get dressed.

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Social psychologists say that clothing is an extension of the self and that by actually getting dressed, you create a shift in your mindset that can improve how you feel.


In this new working from home era, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get dressed when you don't feel like it and all you plan to do today is stay indoors, take meetings and be a mama to littles. But day after day, this uniform can take its toll on your psyche.

Your mind takes note of what you're wearing. In a phenomenon called enclothed cognition, your clothes may cover your body, but they also infiltrate your brain, putting you into a different psychological state—meaning, your outfit can affect how you think and behave. This is in part because of how they look and feel on your skin and what they mean to you, but also because you are actually going through the physical process of getting dressed.

This concept belongs to the theory of embodied cognition, which says that your body's actions (like getting dressed) affect your mind (how you feel) just as much as your mind influences what your body does.

"We think not just with our brains but with our bodies," explains Dr. Adam D. Galinsky, a psychologist and professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. So, by just getting dressed (yes, even another pair of leggings and a cozy shirt), you can change your mind.

And what you wear has power. Studies have shown clothing can be used as a coping mechanism to overcome depressed feelings and also has the power to change a bad mood. By choosing what to wear and then getting dressed, you exercise an element of control in your life that helps you deal with your environment. And favorite outfits have even more power to generate a better mood.

So, getting out of jammies might make you:

  • Feel happier
  • Feel more in control
  • Be prepared for the day
  • Feel better about yourself

Bottom line: I can't always control what happens during the day, but I can control what I wear. By choosing an outfit that I love because it is cozy and I feel good in it, I start to feel better. Empowered, now I'm ready for anything.

You are rocking this new-baby learning curve, mama! Even if you never changed a diaper pre-parenthood, you can probably now do that with one hand, in the dark and still half asleep.

While these early days can feel like you're just going through the motions of feedings and diaper changes, take heart, mama: You and baby are developing a strong, special bond—as those early smiles go to show. (Did you have to pick your heart up off the floor when your baby cracked a grin for the first time?)

As your baby continues to adjust to life outside the womb, you might start feeling more confident with this new chapter in life, too. Making the transition to "mama" for the first time is full of sweet moments, and you really should take heart that you are doing an incredible job.

As you continue to adapt to parenthood, here are some of the items we swear by (for you and baby) for the 2-month mark:

To introduce nursery naptime: Infant Optics video baby monitor

baby monitor

You know that nursery you designed and decorated during pregnancy? It's probably been sitting unused while baby is bunked up in your bedroom per the AAP's recommendation. If you're now ready to put them down for naps in their nursery crib, a good video monitor can help ease your mind.

$165.99

To free up your hands: Infantino 4-in-1 carrier

baby carrier

As you and your little buddy get into a comfortable rhythm, a carrier that is also comfortable for you both is priceless. We love carriers that allow babies to face inward for snuggling and snoozing while you take care of things around the house, or outward as they get older and want to observe.

$29.99

To take on tummy time sessions: Fisher Price play dome

Fisher price on the go dome

Now that your baby is awake for longer stretches of time, a colorful and comfortable play space is a must-have. Make it even more fun by getting down on baby's level to serve as a cheerleader during tummy time sessions!

$59.99

To look and learn: High-Contrast Books Cluck and Moo

baby books

During the first three months of life, infants have an easier time focusing on shades of black or white and can only see a few inches beyond their faces. That makes a high-contrast book that you can read with them a perfect source of visual stimulation.

To soothe with lullabies: Hatch Rest sound machine

Hatch Rest

It's no coincidence your little one drifts off to sleep better when there is some soothing background noise. After all, they spent months and months listening to ambient noise in the womb!

$59.99

To keep it comfy + stylish: Ingrid + Isabel postpartum leggings

postpartum leggings

Simply put, high-waisted leggings are a gift to postpartum mamas during that limbo period when maternity clothes are too loose and pre-pregnancy clothes aren't quite right. We are so grateful to live in an era when leggings are considered stylish, no matter how long you choose to wear them.

$34.99

To help the nursing mama’s wardrobe: Ingrid + Isabel nursing tanks

nursing tanks

For breastfeeding mamas, feeding baby requires some easy access to the milk supply. Our pro tip is to stock up on nursing-friendly tanks and tops so you can feed your baby without halfway undressing.

$24.99

To get a sharable diaper bag: Eddie Bauer backpack

backpack

Where baby goes, so too should supplies—even if it's just a neighborhood stroll. We're partial to backpacks that are roomy and comfortable to carry.

$64.99

To give yourself a little TLC: Honest Mama soaking salts

honest mama

Put an at-home spa session on your schedule, mama. Draw a bath, add some aromatic soaking salts and an eye mask—and enjoy this important moment of self-care.

$14.99

To put a little pep in your step: A New Day sneakers

new day sneakers

When life means constantly balancing all the things, slide-on sneakers are both practical and super cute. We'll take a pair in each color!

$24.99

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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How often do we see a "misbehaving" child and think to ourselves, that kid needs more discipline? How often do we look at our own misbehaving child and think the same thing?

Our society is conditioned to believe that we have to be strict and stern with our kids, or threaten, shame or punish them into behaving. This authoritarian style of parenting is characterized by high expectations and low responsiveness—a tough love approach.

But while this type of authoritarian parenting may elicit "obedient" kids in the short-term, studies suggest that children who are shamed or punished in the name of discipline face challenges in the long-term. Research suggests that children who are harshly disciplined or shamed tend to be less happy, less independent, less confident, less resilient, more aggressive and hostile, more fearful and at higher risk for substance abuse and mental health issues as adults and adolescents.

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The reason? No one ever changes from being shamed.

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