Please give this mom a little more grace

Dear stranger,

(Is it weird to write you this letter? Perhaps. But I doubt it is the weirdest thing I’ve done since becoming a mom…)

Well, here it goes.

I see you watching me. Certainly my attention is focused on these two children of mine, but still, I know you are watching.

What are you thinking? Well, it all depends, but I'm writing you this letter—hoping that you will choose to give me a little more grace.

You see, I put a lot of thought into leaving the house today. I attempted to schedule this necessary outing around naps and fussy moods. I debated whether my errands were even necessary, or whether they could be put off for yet. another. day.

Before I left home, I put on real clothes. I attempted to apply makeup to cover the dark circles under my eyes and the persistent breakouts. I even dressed my kids in trendy outfits.

I might have forgotten deodorant, but no matter, I don't plan on invading your personal space. I did all of this so that I don't stick out in a crowd.

Perhaps I am shallow and fake because of my facade, but honestly, I'm just trying to blend in—like the chameleon at our local zoo. (I prefer instead to let my walls down around my family and closest friends.)

So, please, give me a little more grace.

Honestly, the crown jewel of running errands is to be unnoticed by any and all. I’d love to be able to sneak in and out of a store, hardly making an impression on anyone. But to those of you who are watching and to those of you who do notice, please know this... I'm trying. Truly I am.

So if I look like I'm struggling or out of patience or tired or frustrated or barely holding tears back—it's because I am. If I had it my way, you wouldn't notice those things, and I'd greet you with a genuine smile and happily report that "I'm good and everything is great!"

So please, give me a little more grace, and I'll love you for it.

When you see me struggling to get through a door with my stroller, please help me (even if I say that I don't need help.)

When my kids are screaming in a store, please smile at me with understanding.

When I am changing a blowout diaper in the trunk of my car, please don't judge me.

When I have to nurse my baby in public, please allow me privacy.

When my smile falters after you tell me that my hands are full, please remind me that I'm doing a good job.

When you think you know better than I do, please consider that I am trying my very best and however well-meaning your words may be, they are hard to hear from a stranger.

Would you please give me a little more grace?

Every one of us could use that extra encouragement in life, and unfortunately, these little people of mine don’t deliver in this area…

But what happens when you do give me an extra allotment of grace?

All of a sudden, it’s like the sun breaking through on a cloudy day. I can see the light at the end of my tunnel. Your kindness to me—a stranger—lets me know that I am seen.

I am seen as a human and an individual.

I am seen as more than just a mother who can’t seem to get it together.

I adore my kids and most days their small inconveniences don't get me down, but other days are really hard. Sometimes it feels like running a three-ring circus—with me as the clown... Please, please, give me a little more grace on those days.

I hope that we can all remember the power of judgments, looks, and words. I'll try not to judge your glances and body language, but could you try to not judge me for my imperfections that I'm trying to hide behind my sunglasses?

Could you give me a little more grace? We are all in this together. It takes a village, and, whether you know it or not, you happen to be in mine. ♥


THAT mom

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.


Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.


Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.


Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!


Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.


Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.


'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."


Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.


Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.


Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!


Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.


Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.


Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.


Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.


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


Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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