9 Mom Friends You’ll Make When You Have a Baby

Not all Mom friends are created equal.

9 Mom Friends You’ll Make When You Have a Baby

As joyous as it is to have a newborn, life at home with a wriggly, crying little human can be isolating. Finding your #momsquad is a necessity for survival. Whether you meet your mom friends through a Facebook group, listserv, or playgroup, you’ll be sure to encounter lots of women you might never have befriended had you not given birth within the same couple of weeks. Not all mom friends are created equal, however. Here are 9 moms you can expect to meet when you have a baby and how to deal with them.

1.The Straight A Student (or, The Tracy Enid Flick): She read all the parenting books so you don’t have to. She sends you and your mom group PDFs of the most important chapters. She made an excel spreadsheet of all the neighborhood Two’s programs and their application deadlines before your babies even hit the six-month mark.

How to deal: Consider yourself lucky. Yes, she makes you feel bad about yourself as a parent but the perk is – she does the stuff you’re too tired to do. Think of her as the friend who lets you copy her homework.

2. The One And Only. She has no other mom friends (except you, oh lucky you!) You have no idea how she managed to walk the same exact blocks and visit the same exact parks you do and still not make one other social connection. A lesser person would ice her out, but you feel too guilty to abandon her.

How to deal: Bring her to one of your mom get-togethers or baby classes and introduce her to your pals. Maybe she just needs a good wingwoman. Or maybe she needs a stiff drink to loosen her up a little. Try both.

3. The Long Distance Relationship. She’s a mom friend who moved to another borough...or the suburbs. You tried to have weekly phone dates to keep in touch, but your babies are on completely different sleep schedules.

How to deal: Some of the strongest friendships are maintained via 3am texts. When you’re up with your baby while the rest of the world sleeps, send her elaborate texts to read when she’s up with hers. It isn’t the same as hearing her voice, but knowing that you’re both rocking your babies at ungodly hours makes you feel less alone and more connected to someone going through the same thing.

4. The Just Can’t Even. This mom can’t do anything. Today is never a good day for her to meet up, or even for you to come over to help her out. She cancels on you when you’re already almost at the park because she inevitably has suffered an insane diaper blowout or is on her way to the ER with yet another perceived allergic reaction.

How to deal: Don’t. You’re going through the same exact stuff, and she acts like she’s the only person on Earth with a baby. You don’t have room for this in your life right now. Let her make the effort if she wants to get together, and make it on your terms. That way, if she cancels, you’re not by yourself with a cranky baby at the out-of-the-way park that you don’t like.

5. The DryBar. This mom friend always looks like she’s just floated out of a salon. It is just unfair how glamorous she looks even after a grueling SoulCycle workout (which you don’t know how she finds the time or energy for). You’ve never seen her with a hair out of place or a chipped mani and she never, EVER wears flats.

How to deal: Take a cue from her once in a while, and remember that you, too, deserve to spend time on yourself. There is no secret to her look – she has no more minutes in the day than you. So maybe her child is busy chewing on her makeup brushes so she can get in those 5 extra minutes to beautify. Is that really so bad?

6. The Smug Mug. Her daughter is a precious angel, who, since the age of six months has been sitting sweetly at the restaurant and coloring in the lines. Your child acts like the high chair is covered in shards of glass and always manages to find the most breakable object on the table and hurl it to the floor. This friend starts most sentences with, “Well, what I always do is . . .”

How to deal: This friend means well, so be patient. She thinks her baby is well-behaved because of her awesome parenting skills. Just wait until when she has her second, and that one turns out to be Terror Child. She’ll realize some kids are who they are despite our best efforts and that they are not One Size Fits All. She’ll take it all back, then will ask you for advice on how you got through it.

7. The Badmouth. This mom has nothing nice to say about anyone, ever. She likes to blather on about how she is so non-judgmental, but what she really means is – she only reserves judgment from people who think and who parent exactly like her. You are sure she is also talking about you, especially on the days when you don’t make it to Mom Group.

How to deal: Lighten your friend load and let this one go. Her energy is toxic and if you are not careful, one day she’ll take your nervous giggle after a snarky remark she’s made about another mom for agreement on your part. Before you know it, she’ll be telling everyone that YOU also said that same mean comment she made about your mutual friend.

8. The Girls Night. Literally every week she’s sending out group emails titled, “Girls Niiiite!!!” and texting you emoticons of wine glasses and martinis every day leading up to the event. Yes, a girl’s night would be fun, ONCE IN A WHILE, but all the time? Whenever you do agree to go, all she does is get hammered, flirts with the waiter, and slurs about her husband “the d-bag.”

How to deal: Consider that perhaps she is dealing with some really serious shizz and could use a friend. Like, a real friend, who will listen to what’s going on. She might be trying to surround herself with distractions so she doesn’t have to face the problems at hand. If your attempts at a real connection fail, and you’re trying to decline the fourth Girl’s Night of the month, maybe it’s time to ask her to “unsubscribe” you from her email list.

9. Your New Ride or Die. She’s one of the best things that happened to you since having a baby. She’s the mom you put down on your baby’s emergency contact list because you trust her like a family member. You both plan on doing everything together on this child-rearing journey, so she better not get pregnant again without your first synchronizing your ovulation days.

How to deal: Do not take her for granted and do treat her problems as your own. Because this mama is THERE for you. Like, will walk through a rainstorm with her stroller to your apartment even though her kid hasn’t napped because you’re having a shit day. And bring you your favorite cupcake. You’ve suffered through lots of bad mom friends to find this one gem. And it was all worth it.

Image source.

In This Article

    Cars.com

    This article is sponsored by cars.com. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    Even before you became a parent, buying a new car could be a complicated process. Throw in a car seat or two and a dash of anxiety over safety, and suddenly it can feel like a monumental task. In fact, according to a national Cars.com survey, for two-thirds of parents car seats play a significant role in the selection of their car.

    Fortunately, when it comes to the right car for a family, Cars.com has done the heavy lifting for you. (Literally!) In their 2021 Car Seat Fit Report Card, their certified child passenger safety technicians compiled Car Seat Check scores for 51 vehicles to determine which provide the safest fit for the most car seats. "Cars are an investment and parents or parents-to-be will want to find a car that can grow with their family, but that doesn't mean you need to jump into a minivan before your first child arrives," says Jenni Newman, Editor-in-Chief at Cars.com.

    We sat down with Newman to discuss the Report Card's findings and get her tips to help you make the best decision for your family's ride.

    Motherly: What are the top considerations parents or parents-to-be should look for when choosing a car that will provide the safest fit for a car seat?

    Jenni Newman: Here are a few things to consider when shopping for your next car: Is there enough space? Look for vehicles with roomier backseats, and think about the number of kids in car seats you could have at one time. Nearly half of parents' decide to buy a new car because they need to fit three in a bigger car. Remember, kids can stay in some level of car seat until they're 4 feet, 9 inches tall—for some kids, that could be when they're 12 years old. Not to mention, you will need enough room for your stroller, grocery bags, equipment for kids' activities and any other items parents and caregivers tote around.

    [You also want to ] consider how easy it is to find and use the lower Latch anchors, which are located in the outer rear seats between the back and bottom cushions. A good Latch system makes car-seat installation easier, and since you'll be using car seats for many years, anything that makes life more convenient is a big win.

    Finally, how does it feel? Once you've done your research online and have narrowed down your search, get to your local dealership for some hands-on experience. Test out the roominess, ask about kid-friendly features, bring your car seat and try to install it in the cars you're interested in. Dealers are happy to work with you and help you test all the cars and features that matter to you.

    Motherly: What are the top cars that accommodate a car seat and why?

    JN: The following cars aced our car seat fit tests thanks to their easy-to-find Latch anchors and spacious rear seats. The top cars are:

    • 2021 Audi SQ8: A two-row SUV with a twin-turbo V-8 that puts the fun into the most mundane errands.
    • 2021 Genesis GV80: This luxury SUV can be had with two or three rows — we tested a two-row version. The refined interior might have parents thinking twice about putting kids in the backseat, but don't worry, leather seats are easy to clean.
    • 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: The redesigned compact SUV now comes in a hybrid version that sips gasoline, meaning you can take those family road trips without fueling up as frequently.
    • 2021 Nissan Sentra: This compact car is small but mighty when it comes to family duty, thanks to its roomy backseat.

    cars.com

    Motherly: Which cars are best for families with 2 or more car seats?

    JN: Whether it's a sedan, SUV, pickup truck or minivan, most vehicles can handle two car seats as long as there's enough rear legroom to accommodate a rear-facing infant or convertible car seat.

    Three car seats make life more interesting. Not many cars can fit three car seats across the rear seat, but in our car seat installations, we test each car to see if it can accommodate all three of our car seats across the backseat—an infant seat, convertible seat and booster seat—and publish the results. The Volkswagen Atlas, a three-row SUV and the Cars.com 2021 Family Car of the Year, features a roomy second row that easily manages three car seats across it, and its third row is spacious enough to handle car seats or even adults.

    Motherly: What are the best ways for parents to confirm that their car seat has been installed correctly?

    JN: There are some simple steps that parents can take when installing a car seat. First, they should read the car seat owner's manual as well as their car's manual to make sure the installation is starting off correctly. The manuals may have guidance on whether a car seat can be installed in the middle rear seat, for example.

    When installing the car seat, parents should use either the car's Latch anchors or a seat belt, but not both at the same time. Using the Latch system tends to be a little easier for most parents, but if you cannot find your car's lower Latch anchors, then using a seat belt for installation is perfectly acceptable. With a seat belt installation, make sure the seat belt's retractor is in the locked position to keep the car seat securely in place. Your car's owner's manual will walk you through how to lock the retractor.

    Check your car seat install by grabbing the car seat near the belt path and giving it a tug. If it moves more than an inch in any direction, tighten the Latch strap to better secure the car seat. It's important to do this test at the belt path because if you test an infant seat, for example, at the top of the car seat, where the baby's head is, it'll seem like there's too much movement, but if you test at the belt path, you'll get a better sense of installation's snugness.

    cars.com

    Motherly: Aside from car seat fit and safety, what are some other features or technology that parents or parents-to-be should consider when shopping for their next family car?

    JN: Automakers are loading cars with tons of family-friendly features. One of my favorites is the in-vehicle vacuum in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan. I'd love one of those in my own car - and it would have been amazing to have when my kids were toddlers.

    Speaking of minivans, the Pacifica, Odyssey and the all-new Kia Carnival minivan offer an in-cabin camera system that allows parents to monitor any shenanigans in the second and third rows. The camera in the Carnival, which was named Cars.com's Best Minivan of 2021, has impressive resolution, zoom functionality and even night vision.

    Automakers are also working to combat child in-car heatstroke with a commitment to add rear-seat reminders to their vehicles by no later than the 2025 model year. GM and Nissan, for example, have systems that use an alert to remind the driver to check the backseat if the rear doors were opened at the start of a car trip. Hyundai offers its Ultrasonic Rear Occupant Alert system, which uses sensors to monitor the backseat for movement. It alerts the driver if it senses any movement.

    Whether you need a car to accommodate one child or a brood, the new Cars.com report could be the first step to getting your family on the road safely. And when in doubt about your car seat's fit, remember, you have options. "Installing car seats can be frustrating. I've been doing it as a certified child passenger safety technician for more than 10 years and have two teenage boys and there are still times when I struggle," Newman says. "Cars.com has hundreds of Car Seat Checks that can be a useful resource for parents who are installing car seats into a new or older model car. Parents should ask for help when they need it, and can find certified technicians at their local police department, fire department or hospital."

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    10 Montessori phrases for kids who are struggling with back to school

    The first day of school can be hard for everyone, mama. Here's how to use the Montessori method to help your child adjust.

    No matter how excited your child was to pick out a new lunchbox and backpack this year, there will likely be days when they just don't want to go to school. Whether they're saying "I don't like school" when you're home playing together or having a meltdown on the way to the classroom, there are things you can say to help ease their back-to-school nerves.

    More than the exact words you use, the most important thing is your attitude, which your child is most definitely aware of. It's important to validate their feelings while conveying a calm confidence that school is the right place for them to be and that they can handle it.

    Here are some phrases that will encourage your child to go to school.


    1. "You're safe here."

    If you have a young child, they may be genuinely frightened of leaving you and going to school. Tell them that school is a safe place full of people who care about them. If you say this with calm confidence, they'll believe you. No matter what words you say, if your child senses your hesitation, your own fear of leaving them, they will not feel safe. How can they be safe if you're clearly scared of leaving them? Try to work through your own feelings about dropping them off before the actual day so you can be a calm presence and support.

    2. "I love you and I know you can do this."

    It's best to keep your goodbye short, even if your child is crying or clinging to you, and trust that you have chosen a good place for them to be. Most children recover from hard goodbyes quickly after the parent leaves.

    If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, give one good strong hug and tell them that you love them and know they can do this. Saying something like, "It's just school, you'll be fine" belittles their feelings. Instead, acknowledge that this is hard, but that you're confident they're up to the task. This validates the anxiety they're feeling while ending on a positive note.

    After a quick reassurance, make your exit, take a deep breath and trust that they will be okay.

    3. "First you'll have circle time, then work time, and then you'll play on the playground."

    Talk your child through the daily schedule at school, including as many details as possible. Talk about what will happen when you drop them off, what kinds of work they will do, when they will eat lunch and play outside, and who will come to get them in the afternoon.

    It can help to do this many times so that they become comfortable with the new daily rhythm.

    4. "I'll pick you up after playground time."

    Give your child a frame of reference for when you will be returning.

    If your child can tell time, you can tell them you'll see them at 3:30pm. If they're younger, tell them what will happen right before you pick them up. Perhaps you'll come get them right after lunch, or maybe it's after math class.

    Giving this reference point can help reassure them you are indeed coming back and that there is a specific plan for when they will see you again. As the days pass, they'll realize that you come consistently every day when you said you would and their anxieties will ease.

    5. "What book do you think your teacher will read when you get to school this morning?"

    Find out what happens first in your child's school day and help them mentally transition to that task. In a Montessori school, the children choose their own work, so you might ask about which work your child plans to do first.

    If they're in a more traditional school, find an aspect of the school morning they enjoy and talk about that.

    Thinking about the whole school day can seem daunting, but helping your child focus on a specific thing that will happen can make it seem more manageable.

    6. "Do you think Johnny will be there today?"

    Remind your child of the friends they will see when they get to school.

    If you're not sure who your child is bonding with, ask the teacher. On the way to school, talk about the children they can expect to see and try asking what they might do together.

    If your child is new to the school, it might help to arrange a playdate with a child in their class to help them form strong relationships.

    7. "That's a hard feeling. Tell me about it."

    While school drop-off is not the time to wallow in the hard feelings of not wanting to go to school, if your child brings up concerns after school or on the weekend, take some time to listen to them.

    Children can very easily be swayed by our leading questions, so keep your questions very general and neutral so that your child can tell you what they're really feeling.

    They may reveal that they just miss you while they're gone, or may tell you that a certain person or kind of work is giving them anxiety.

    Let them know that you empathize with how they feel, but try not to react too dramatically. If you think there is an issue of real concern, talk to the teacher about it, but your reaction can certainly impact the already tentative feelings about going to school.

    8. "What can we do to help you feel better?"

    Help your child brainstorm some solutions to make them more comfortable with going to school.

    Choose a time at home when they are calm. Get out a pen and paper to show that you are serious about this.

    If they miss you, would a special note in their pocket each morning help? If another child is bothering them, what could they say or who could they ask for help? If they're too tired in the morning, could an earlier bedtime make them feel better?

    Make it a collaborative process, rather than a situation where you're rescuing them, to build their confidence.

    9. "What was the best part of your school day?"

    Choose a time when your child is not talking about school and start talking about your day. Tell them the best part of your day, then try asking about the best part of their day. Practice this every day.

    It's easy to focus on the hardest parts of an experience because they tend to stick out in our minds. Help your child recognize that, even if they don't always want to go, there are likely parts of school they really enjoy.

    10. "I can't wait to go to the park together when we get home."

    If your child is having a hard time saying goodbye, remind them of what you will do together after you pick them up from school.

    Even if this is just going home and making dinner, what your child likely craves is time together with you, so help them remember that it's coming.

    It is totally normal for children to go through phases when they don't want to go to school. If you're concerned, talk to your child's teacher and ask if they seem happy and engaged once they're in the classroom.

    To your child, be there to listen, to help when you can, and to reassure them that their feelings are natural and that they are so capable of facing the challenges of the school day, even when it seems hard.

    Back to School

    One of the greatest joys of parenting is getting to introduce your baby to the great, big world. Even from a young age, travel can open our eyes to new environments, teach resilience and adaptability and create a meaningful bond between family members.

    The problem? The logistics of traveling with a baby can be, well, challenging. For too long, one of the biggest obstacles standing between parents and their traveling plans has been the hassle of managing an infant car seat on our journey.

    The new Nuna PIPA lite rx is changing all that. The Nuna PIPA lite rx is an infant car seat made for everyday life and more enjoyable adventures. With a combination of features that make travel easier, you can skip the question of "how" to go with your baby and move onto asking "where" to go.

    From trips around the corner to trips across the country, the new Nuna PIPA lite rx car seat solves so many pain points of traveling with a baby. Here's why you'll love it...

    It is amazingly light-weight

    We're all for a good workout—just not every time we need to carry the car seat. Weighing in at just 6.9 lbs., the PIPA lite rx truly earns the title of lightweight champion. Combined with a luxe leatherette handle for comfortably carrying in your hand or the crook of your arm, this dreamy travel car seat is great at getting from Point A to Point B—whether you're in the car or not.

    It is incredibly safe and secure from day one

    With an additional GOTS™ certified infant insert and harness covers, 7-position height-adjustable no-rethread headrest, Aeroflex™ foam and side-impact protection, you can travel with the confidence that your baby is well-protected from your baby's first ride and beyond. And because any parent knows the trickiest part of travel is getting baby in and out of the car seat, the PIPA lite rx simplifies the task: The 5-point no-rethread harness can be held to the side with magnetic buckle holders while you're getting your baby in or out of the seat. (Meaning no more searching for straps under a wiggly baby!)

    Your baby will be cozy for longer excursions

    When it comes to keeping your little travel companion content, comfort is the name of the game. With foam cushions and a memory foam headrest, your little explorer will have the best seat in the car when buckled in. For a little extra privacy, pull down the breathable Dream Drape and quietly attach it to the side of the car seat with magnets. Or, enjoy some time in the sun without concerns about harsh rays with the full-coverage UPF 50+ canopy.

    Base or belt... the decision is yours

    The Nuna PIPA lite rx offers two ways to secure the seat to the car: with the (included) PIPA RELX base or by buckling in through the belt path on the infant car seat with the vehicle's seat belt, meaning one less thing to take along when you travel by taxi or airplane. Better yet, the car seat securely installs in just seconds so you can get on with the adventure.

    Stroll on with the full travel system

    Compatible with Nuna's extensive line of strollers, the Nuna PIPA lite rx lets you create a travel system that works for your lifestyle. From single strollers to rides that can grow with your family, you can click the Nuna PIPA lite rx into place and go—wherever your travels might take you.

    The Nuna PIPA lite rx is available now in two color options. Take a closer look at this fully featured infant seat on nunababy.com.

    This article is sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
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    15 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    Keeping kids entertained is a battle for all seasons. When it's warm and sunny, the options seem endless. Get them outside and get them moving. When it's cold or rainy, it gets a little tricker.

    So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of the best toys for toddlers and kids that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, many are Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these indoor outdoor toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.


    Stomp Racers

    As longtime fans of Stomp Rockets, we're pretty excited about their latest launch–Stomp Racers. Honestly, the thrill of sending things flying through the air never gets old. Parents and kids alike can spend hours launching these kid-powered cars which take off via a stompable pad and hose.

    $19.99

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Step2 Up and Down Rollercoaster

    Tiny thrill-seekers will love this kid-powered coaster which will send them (safely) sailing across the backyard or play space. The durable set comes with a high back coaster car and 10.75 feet of track, providing endless opportunities for developing gross motor skills, balance and learning to take turns. The track is made up of three separate pieces which are easy to assemble and take apart for storage (but we don't think it will be put away too often!)

    $139

    Secret Agent play set

    Plan-Toys-Secret-agent-play-set

    This set has everything your little secret agent needs to solve whatever case they might encounter: an ID badge, finger scanner, walkie-talkie handset, L-shaped scale and coloring comic (a printable file is also available for online download) along with a handy belt to carry it all along. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Stepping Stones

    Stepping-stones

    Kiddos can jump, stretch, climb and balance with these non-slip stepping stones. The 20-piece set can be arranged in countless configurations to create obstacle courses, games or whatever they can dream up.

    $99.99

    Sand play set

    B. toys Wagon & Beach Playset - Wavy-Wagon Red

    For the littlest ones, it's easy to keep it simple. Take their sand box toys and use them in the bath! This 12-piece set includes a variety of scoops, molds and sifters that can all be stored in sweet little wagon.

    $17.95

    Sensory play set

    kidoozie-sand-and-splash-activity-table

    Filled with sand or water, this compact-sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $19.95

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Foam pogo stick

    Flybar-my-first-foam-pogo-stick

    Designed for ages 3 and up, My First Flybar offers kiddos who are too young for a pogo stick a frustration-free way to get their jump on. The wide foam base and stretchy bungee cord "stick" is sturdy enough to withstand indoor and outdoor use and makes a super fun addition to driveway obstacle courses and backyard races. Full disclosure—it squeaks when they bounce, but don't let that be a deterrent. One clever reviewer noted that with a pair of needle-nose pliers, you can surgically remove that sucker without damaging the base.

    $16.99

    Dumptruck 

    green-toys-dump-truck

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyard or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? It's made from recycled plastic milk cartons.

    $22

    Hopper ball

    Hopper ball

    Burn off all that extra energy hippity hopping across the lawn or the living room! This hopper ball is one of the top rated versions on Amazon as it's thicker and more durable than most. It also comes with a hand pump to make inflation quick and easy.

    $14.99

    Pull-along ducks

    janod-pull-along-wooden-ducks

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $16.99

    Rocking chair seesaw

    Slidewhizzer-rocking-chair-seesaw

    This built-to-last rocking seesaw is a fun way to get the wiggles out in the grass or in the playroom. The sturdy design can support up to 77 pounds, so even older kiddos can get in on the action.

    $79.99

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $79.99

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $24.75

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

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    How switching to organic dairy was the perfect teaching moment for my family

    It is possible to make a no-brainer decision that still has seriously positive effects.

    Organic Valley

    This article is sponsored by Organic Valley. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

    As a mama in 2021, I love when I encounter teachable, problem-solving moments with my kids. One of the biggest recurring themes is that our actions have repercussions—in our lives and in the lives of others. And, sometimes, little shifts can have significant effects.

    Recently, one item on my family's to-do list was to be more mindful about how we're treating our bodies and the planet. That quickly led us to explore our food choices. And, thankfully, we didn't have to do anything too dramatic to reap some wonderful benefits: Switching to organic dairy from Organic Valley was a simple-yet-impactful place for my family to start because we already consume dairy products.

    While I know there are multiple ways to make a difference, this was one easy (and delicious) starting point for our family. Now we just consume dairy products we feel good about—in more ways than one!

    Switching to organic dairy is convenience you can feel good about

    All too often, the "convenient" foods marketed to moms seem to come with a catch like unsavory ingredients or subpar manufacturing standards. Not so with organic dairy products from Organic Valley! I have the peace of mind from knowing that the products I'm serving have been produced with the highest standards of animal care and aren't padded with sugar or other unpronounceable ingredients.

    On a practical level, switching to organic dairy was so simple—Organic Valley's string cheese is my kids' most-requested lunch box item anyway. Making the full switch to organic dairy was as easy as picking one carton of milk over another or grabbing the Organic Valley butter.

    The convenience also carries over to our home: When my kids say they are hungry or need a snack, I suggest they look for the Organic Valley packaging in our refrigerator. My 3-year-old can just grab Organic Valley Single Serve Milk herself, which makes her feel capable and independent—and gives me an extra minute to sit down.

    It’s a nutritious and reliable choice

    Organic Valley

    There's no denying that milk is a nutritious beverage for kids. Loaded with calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and more, milk helps fuel my kids and support their growth. However, not all glasses of milk are created equally. Organic Valley Grassmilk has higher levels of Omega-3 & conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to conventional milk.

    Just as important to me as what the products include is what they don't include. Because Organic Valley is USDA-certified organic, I know there are never GMOs, toxic pesticides, antibiotics or added hormones in my kids' glass of milk or bite of cheese.

    Organic dairy is better for the environment—and our kids’ futures

    Organic Valley

    I first discovered Organic Valley because of their organic promise and delicious products—but our enthusiasm only deepened when we learned more about their commitment to sustainability. That's big for my family: We come face-to-face with environmental issues on a daily basis because we live in the western United States, where water shortages and wildfires have gone beyond the crisis point. As a result, my kids and I have talked a lot about ways to help the environment. And, instead of getting burnt out on trying to do all the things, switching to Organic Valley helped us feel empowered that our choices can lead to positive changes.

    Why? Because Organic Valley "walks the walk" when it comes to making the world better by practicing climate-smart farming with a pasture-based system. Not only does this system allow cows to spend 50% more time outside than USDA standards require, but Organic Valley has a lower carbon footprint because of their on-farm sustainability practices. The business itself even uses renewable power.

    More little changes that can make an impact

    Organic Valley

    For me, switching to organic dairy was an eye-opener not only because I realized how easy a change it could be but also because it inspired our family to look for other small changes we could make. For example, we already ride bikes for fun with the kids, so we started riding them to school instead of driving. We already spend money on disposable plastic bags, so we switched to invest instead in reusable ones.

    On their own, these choices may seem small. But they do add up—in ways that benefit the environment and my family.


    Make the switch to organic dairy with Organic Valley. Explore the products and get a coupon code on the website.

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    To my friends who had kids before me: I am sorry I didn’t know

    But now that I'm a mother, I do know. And I promise to pay it forward.

    I have never felt more fiercely loved than in the days, weeks and months after my baby girl was born. I felt immense love from everyone in my life, but the love I felt from other mothers was different. It came from deep-seeded understanding and empathy. It came from heartfelt celebration and excitement.

    It came from a place that only another mother can relate to.


    I recall one very emotional day when my daughter was about a week old. I had been going through the throes of triple feeding coupled with the height of what I assume you would call the baby blues.

    My sister sat on the couch with me as I painstakingly tried to pump through severe engorgement, and as she rubbed my shoulders, encouraging me to make it through just one more feeding session, I broke down in tears and told her I was so sorry.

    She looked at me shocked. Why, exactly, was I apologizing?

    It is so simple to see now—in those moments of raw motherhood, my sister was able to love me in a way that no one else could because she had been there before.

    While feeling overwhelmed with gratitude to have her in my life, I suddenly felt so much sadness that I hadn't been able to love my sister in the same way when she was walking through early motherhood.

    And so many moments followed that one, moments that made me feel immensely lucky to be surrounded by what can only be described as the best humans on earth, followed by the realization that I wish I could have done so much more, and felt so much more, for my dear friends in their early days of motherhood.

    So, to my friends who had kids before me: I am sorry.

    To my sister who tried for months to breastfeed her son and spent countless hours with lactation consultants and feeding groups, I am sorry I didn't understand how something as simple as feeding your child could make you feel like a failure. I am sorry that I did not wrap you in the biggest hug every day and tell you that you are a great mom and that if you need to cry about it, it is okay.

    To my friend with the baby in the NICU, I am sorry I didn't realize that behind the text saying you were "okay" and "didn't need anything," that nothing would've made a bigger difference than a warm meal and hot coffee dropped off to the front desk of the hospital. I knew you were a strong warrior mom (all NICU moms are), but now I know that even warrior moms need someone listening to what they aren't saying.

    To my friends who lost their sweet babies before they arrived, I am so sorry that I never knew how much you could love someone you have never met. I am sorry that I couldn't even come close to imagining your pain and sadness until I felt my own daughter wiggle in my belly, and even then, I still couldn't. Saying I am sorry will never be enough to encompass the pain you are feeling, so I hope saying "I love you" will let you know I am here.

    To my friends with the sick children, I am sorry I never fully understood the heart-wrenching agony of seeing your child in pain until I saw my own heart beating outside my body in my beautiful daughter. You are the bravest type of mom there is, and I know there is nothing you wouldn't sacrifice for your child. You hold up the world, but when you need someone to hold you up, I am here.

    To my friend who confided in me that she was struggling with postpartum depression, I am sorry I did not know just how heavy that anxiety felt on your heart. I am sorry I didn't understand the darkness you experienced every night when you went to bed and the desperation of wondering when it would all go away.

    To my friend who sent me the Starbucks card and heartfelt message on my first day back from maternity leave, I am sorry I didn't take more time to check in with you when you came back to work. I loved looking at photos of your beautiful baby and hearing about her life, but I should've spent more time checking in on you and making sure you felt loved and appreciated, especially as you made the adjustment back to work.

    These wonderful, beautiful women have taught me so much. And while I didn't know, I do now. My understanding was almost instantaneous the moment I became a mom, and the sisterhood of motherhood has carried me through the difficult times and celebrated alongside me during the good.

    To be loved without pretense or judgment is what this sisterhood is all about, and you just don't know until you experience it for yourself.

    I am sorry I didn't know, but I promise to pay it forward each and every day.

    This this story was originally published on May 24, 2018. It has been updated.

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