This year wasn't an easy one for most of us. It was incredibly hard. There are hard things happening in the world right now as the coronavirus pandemic continues. We're not going to pretend like this is an easy time to be a parent, because it is not. It's okay to say you're not okay today. But it's also okay to allow yourself to enjoy the lighter moments of life because these moments are still happening inside our homes during the pandemic.
2020 was so hard, but there are still so many things that made us smile this year.
Here are a few of the good news headlines we loved in 2020:
The viral birth photos that celebrated a Black mother's midwifery birth
Elaine Baca /Facebook
In June, as news cameras were capturing history and Americans were taking to the streets to support the Black Lives Matter movement, photographer Elaine Baca had her camera lens aimed at the beginning of life that matters so much.
New mom Anya Jones welcomed her first child, a son, that month at the Gentle Beginnings Birth Center in Hurst, Texas and Baca documented the birth experience as other photographers were documenting Black Lives Matter protests throughout the country.
Baca's incredible photos told an incredible story . The photographs are a celebration of the beginning of a life and a story of hope for a family and a society.
"For me to be birthing another Black man into America right now, I feel privileged," Anya told Motherly . "We as a generation have to teach our kids that they do have a voice."
The toddler who went viral for thanking his mama (for absolutely everything)
Two-year-old Grey Meeker became a viral sensation in 2020 by uttering three little words over and over again: "Thank you, mama!"
His TikTok videos are all kind of the same and yet they never get old. Grey's mom hands him a plate of food, to which the adorably chubby-cheeked toddler inevitably replies, "Thank you, mama," clearly always delighted by the prospect of sitting down to a meal or snack.
We love how Grey brought so much happiness to this dreadful year.
She learned she was pregnant with quadruplets weeks after adopting 4 children!
ArLette Young/Go Fund Me
They went from a couple to a family of 11 in record time. Pennsylvania parents Maxine and Jake Young always wanted kids but were struggling with infertility issues when they decided to become foster parents. They got the call for an emergency foster placement of three siblings in 2017.
The children were young, just 4, 2 and 11 months old. A month later, the couple got another call. Their foster kids had a baby sister, and they picked her up from the hospital.
A couple months later, Maxine learned IVF had finally worked—and she was pregnant after years of trying.
"It was chaos," she tells WFMZ. "We went from zero to five within less than a year."
Then in 2019, the children they were fostering became officially theirs via adoption, and a couple of months later, Maxine found out she was pregnant again...but this time she wasn't having one. She was expecting four more babies.
"I didn't even think that I could get pregnant without doing IVF [in vitro fertilization] or IUI [intrauterine insemination], which we had to do with our son. I remember texting [Jake] and was like, 'Oh my God,'" Maxine said.
The quads were born on July 31, 2020 and their parents are preparing to help them transition from the NICU to their home with their siblings. "Luckily, they're all doing really well, and we're really grateful," Maxine said.
This viral illustration highlights how the pandemic is impacting newly postpartum mamas
The artist Spirit Y Sol touched so many mamas in 2020, letting art speak for the women who have had their postpartum experience changed so drastically by the pandemic. Through an essay and accompanying illustration Sol describes what was stolen from those currently in the fourth trimester.
"This is not what you had planned. This is not what you'd envisioned. There are no visits from friends, no loving doula bringing you soup, no "mommy and me" yoga classes, no coffee dates, no stroller walks through the park." Sol writes.
"But mama, know this—We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."
Sol is right. We are in this together, mama. And we are here for you.
Viral poem 'For the Lockdown Babies' puts mamas' feelings into words
Mother and blogger Gráinne Evans saw her art go viral this week after she wrote a poem that is striking a cord with so many mamas. It's called "For the Lockdown Babies" and it's being shared all over social media this week because Evans' words capture the experience of so many parents right now.
The poem is set in the future, when we're all explaining this time to the babies and little ones who won't remember it.
"Sure you were only a baby" I'll tell her when she asks,
About that time in photographs when everyone wore masks.
"You don't remember the chaos when the world was forced to rest."
"You had all you needed in my arms and at my breast"
"You never even noticed" I'll tell her then I'll say,
"I held you as the weeks went by, we took it day by day"
"We were safe and happy, right where we needed to be".
"I fed you snuggled in my arms, protecting you was key".
"You were only a tiny baby" I'll tell her and explain,
Why so many people were afraid, anxious and in pain.
"It wasn't always easy, those isolating newborn days,
But feeding you flooded me with love, got me through the haze".
"You were a lockdown baby" I'll tell her when it's time,
"I was your whole world back then, just as you were mine",
"And now, though it's just a memory, I still smile when I see,
A rainbow in a window, put there for you and me."
This baby's quarantine style birthday party is going viral
So many events have been canceled because of the pandemic, and many first birthday parties are among them. For parents who were looking forward to celebrating their little one's first birthday with friends and family having to cancel the guest list is hard.
Mama Kylie Najjar was one of the many parents having to make the hard choice to cancel her baby's birthday party, but she decided to make it special by doubling down on the theme of social distancing.
Her baby's big day went viral because even in a difficult time like this pandemic, small moments still matter and can still make us smile.
This viral post highlights how our kids are 'little heroes' during this crisis
In 2020 we found hope in anything we could, including in a viral post floating around that gave some credit where it is due: To our children.
Our kids have been champs during this crisis, as the post notes, "their little lives have been turned upside down...[but] every day they get up and carry on despite everything that is going on! Painting pictures, drawings to show their support to the heroes out there and to make other children walking past feel better!"
We see you, little heroes.
You're doing great and we are so proud of your resiliency!
Viral video shows even social distancing can't stop toddlers from 'socializing'
My 3-year-old nephew is the friendliest toddler you'd ever wish to meet, and always says hello to all the people he walks past.— Toby Marriott (@tobymarriott) April 3, 2020
On his daily walk today, though, he had to pretend... 🤣
Hope this brightens up your day! pic.twitter.com/C4lSyYU2eb
Twitter user Toby Marriott went viral thanks to an 8 second clip of his nephew, "the friendliest toddler you'd ever meet." According to his uncle, this 3-year-old always says hello to anyone he meets on the street, but he's not running into any people on his daily walks these days...so he has to pretend.
"Hope this brightens up your day!" Marriott captioned a video of his nephew saying hello to an invisible friend. It's super cute and if we hang in there, one day this little guy will be able to say hello to his neighbors again.
Gabrielle Union's daughter is loving mama's natural quarantine hair
So many of us are going without our usual hair colors, cuts, treatments, extensions and styles these days as social distancing means visits to the salon are off the agenda.
Gabrielle Union is one of many mamas who reverted to a more natural hair situation during the quarantine, and from the looks of her Instagram photos, her daughter Kaavia James is loving the look as much as mama does.
"See @kaaviajames mama's got hair like yours!! When I took my braids out she was like 👀🤔 now mom & baby both rocking their natural curls ❤💜🖤 #QuarantineNaturalHairChronicles " Union captioned a photo of her with Kaavia.
Thank you, Gabrielle, for sharing your hair transformation with Kaavia and the world!
Dad's viral video proves that while isolation is hard on families, it can also be funny 😂
Day 10 and we’ve now cracked.. wife on her knees singing with kid in xmas clothing and dog going nuts pic.twitter.com/KqCtxa2oUO— Jason Finegan (@Jason_Finegan) April 2, 2020
Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is so hard. It's a serious crisis that we at Motherly are taking seriously, but a viral video from a dad stuck working at home with his family reminds us that it's okay to laugh at the lighter moments during this difficult time.
Talent and Sports agent Jason Finegan is now working from home while his family isolates inside it, and he posted a hilarious video to Twitter.
"Day 10 and we've now cracked.. wife on her knees singing with kid in xmas clothing and dog going nuts," he captioned the clip that shows his wife, singer Rachel Adedeji singing along to Whitney Houston as their daughter (dressed like a Christmas elf) sits beside her. Eventually, the toddler and even the dog join in on the singing.
Many parents are laughing along with Finegan because they can relate. Days don't matter as much anymore. Kids are celebrating Christmas and Halloween on a random Thursday in April just because they want to. And mamas are singing to keep from cracking up.
This is hard. But it's okay to laugh, too.
This is the advice we need right now: Start + end the day with activities, have a 'mediocre middle'
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My friend called last night. Her 4 year old son was screaming, just screaming. She says: My life is hell right now. I’m trying to work and the only time I get a moment of peace I get all day and night is during TV Time. I say: Wait. Stop Did you just say the words: TV TIME? WHAT DO YOU MEAN “TV TIME?” Parents, Listen to me and listen good: “TV TIME” is for PEACE TIMES. You know what “TV TIME” is during the corona? TV time is ALLLL THE TIMES. ALL THE TIMES. ALL. . You know I love you and I always try to be gentle — but this: MOM SHAMING YOURSELF DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC IS WHERE I MUST DRAW THE LINE. IF YOU INSIST ON EDUCATING THE WEE ONES DURING HELL, HERE ARE YOU OPTIONS: Sit kids down. Turn on TV. Walk in after a few hours, mute the TV, turn on closed captions - Reading Lesson DONE. Yell: How many Daniel The Tiger episodes is this? They yell back: Seven! - Math lesson DONE. They yell: Can you turn it up? You yell back: TURN IT UP YOURSELF - Technology lesson: Done. They yell: Can I have some water? You yell back: Walk to the kitchen and get it yourself. Physical Education: DONE They whine: Mommy I’m tired of TV. You look them right in the eye and say: Listen to me, baby. Keep on keeping on. Don’t quit. You can do hard things- LESSON ON RESILENCE AND STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS: DONE. . To think of all of you depriving these children of these essential life lessons because of your own TV shame issues. It’s sad. Really sad. #GetUntamed
Glennon Doyle is a mom and a bestselling author , but she's also a former preschool teacher and had some excellent advice for parents during this challenging time. Back when she was teaching preschool she discovered her students only really concentrated on the first and last activities of the day. So she gave herself permission to have a "mediocre middle" and it worked.
"No matter what I did all day, the students only remembered the last thing we did," she says in a video posted to Instagram. "All of them. That's all they remembered. That's all they talked about to their parents."
She continues: "All you have to do is finish strong...I decided every day to start strong and finish strong and just have a big mediocre middle. One cool thing in the morning, one supercool thing last. Mediocre middle. Done and done."
According to Doyle, now is the time for all of us to lean into screen time if that's what we need to do. It's okay.
"After breakfast, read a book with them — that's starting strong," she says. "Then a quick seven-hour TV show. Then before dinner, turn off the TV and do something cool, something fun. Not Pinterest fun. Just easy fun. A board game, I Spy. That is finishing strong. Then dinner, then obviously another family show."
For a lot of us now is not about homeschooling, it's about surviving without school. And Doyle's advice is just what we needed to hear today.
Father of 5 James Van Der Beek's amazing homeschool hack
James Van Der Beek is total #dadgoals and, like the rest of us, he's now tasked with not just being a parent but a teacher, too.
For Van Der Beek, who grew up with a learning challenge (specifically dyslexia) becoming a teacher has meant bringing back some of the tricks that helped him learn as a kid who didn't quite mesh with the standard classroom curriculums.
"Numbers. Being a #homeschool teacher has suddenly brought back all the weird tricks I taught myself in order to write numbers and letters correctly. And this deep into quarantine... I'm batty enough to share it. 🤗," he captioned an Instagram video this week.
In the video, Van Der Beek shows how he learned his numbers as a kid, by giving them personalities he could remember.
"One stands there alone," he explains, adding that 2 is always looking over at one because "three is trying to eat me" he says, making the number '3' with his fingers.
Instagram fans are loving these tips from the actor/dad.
"As a mom to a dyslexic son, I could not love this more!!! ❤️" one mama wrote.
The viral photo that inspiring people to thank their delivery drivers
Delivery driver Tadashi Andrews found a pleasant surprise during his run in Glendale, Arizona when he came upon this box a household had set outside for delivery folks.
He snapped a pic and captioned it: "WE NEED MORE OF THIS!!! So. I'm a courier. I deliver to so many types of places everyday. Businesses, houses, apartments, hospitals, you name it, I'll deliver. This house I just left had this box on the porch. So thoughtful. So caring. In a time when people are panicking an[d] hoarding everything for no really good reason, these people are willingly giving it away. We need waaaaay more of this. Everyone needs to see this.... PS, I didn't need anything, so I didn't take anything. That's how we also need to be."
Andrews' Instagram comments blew up with people loving this idea and other delivery people and couriers chimed in to say what a great idea it is.
One commenter wrote: "I am a FedEx contractor and to be honest stuff like this is what makes us come to work every day no matter what!"
Some people are choosing to leave Lysol wipes and other sanitary supplies for the delivery workers or even just notes of appreciation.
Delivery workers are keeping our household's running right now and they certainly deserve thanks and respect.
The mom who went viral for running a 5:25 mile—at 9 months pregnant
Makenna Myler was nine months pregnant when a video of her running (shot by her husband, Mike) went mega -viral on TikTok. A clip of Myler running a 5:25 mile while super pregnant has now been viewed millions of times.
During her moment of viral fame Myler told Motherly that while internet commenters seemed very concerned about her pregnancy ( she was fine, she was an elite runner before pregnancy and her doctor said it was okay to keep running ), there's not as much concern for pregnant people who are say, working a physically demanding job in the third trimester, or live in countries where they have to walk miles and miles per day to get water for their families.
Talk about taking a good news story and using it for good!