A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

By Ashley Abeles

As mothers, we are tasked with countless responsibilities. We are often balancing parenthood, career, relationships and more. Additionally, we face pressure to emulate an unrealistic image of motherhood, one that we see on diaper boxes and baby commercials. Those imaginary women are able to do it all—flawlessly, and with perfect hair. Many of us, perhaps unknowingly, absorb this expectation and hold ourselves to that standard.

The problem? It is unachievable.

When we set our bar at an unattainable height, we will undoubtedly fall short. The result is a hearty dose of mom-guilt with an extra side of shame. When we combine these feelings with all of our motherhood duties, it is no surprise that many women feel depleted. While juggling obligations, it can be challenging to find the time or resources to recharge ourselves. Furthermore, in the throes of mom-guilt, it is easy to feel undeserving of self-care.

Many women believe that, by caring for themselves, they are taking something away from their families. This could not be further from the truth.

In order to meet the needs of others, our own needs must also be met. An empty well cannot yield water. Practicing self-care is not an act of selfishness; it is a necessity. We must remember that we are not prioritizing our wellness above our families. We are prioritizing our wellness for our families. Self-care allows us to be the best versions of ourselves—for us and for those we love.

Rest assured that self-care is not only spa days and manicures, as lovely as those can be. Simple daily practices and adjustments to our perspectives may also serve as self-care. Wellness does not need to feel like one more task on an already overwhelming to-do list.

Below are self-care strategies for busy moms that require little-to-no time and do not cost a dime.

1. Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that teaches us to focus our attention on the present moment. Rather than ruminating over the past or planning for the future, we learn to tune into what is happening right now. Meditation has also been associated with reduced stress and anxiety. This is a practical strategy for overbooked moms, who can dedicate as much or as little time as they have available. Positive results may be achieved in only a few minutes a day.

2. Let go of perfectionism

Some of us are perfectionists by nature and others have learned this tendency through social pressures. Regardless of how we adopted perfectionism, it is important to recognize that it is unhealthy for us. When we set unachievable expectations, we are destined to fail.

One of the most caring things we can do is allow ourselves to experience success. This is crucial to our emotional wellbeing, and can only be achieved when we let go of perfectionism. There is no such thing as a perfect mother.

3. Prioritize rest

As busy parents, rest can feel elusive. While there are times when exhaustion is out of our control, there are other times when we have a choice. For instance, when the baby is finally napping, we can choose to do the dishes and respond to work e-mails, or we can choose to give ourselves a break.

While most of us would like for our homes to be immaculate and to be voted employees-of-the-year, we must realize that these are not necessities. Rest, on the other hand, is.

Our children will benefit more from a healthy, replenished mother than from a fresh batch of laundry. Recharging may not always be an option but, when it is, take it.

4. Stop comparing

In this day of social media, we have innumerable opportunities to compare ourselves to others. With the click of a button, we have access to the lives of everyone we know. We may see our mom friends baking homemade bread, hand-sewing Halloween costumes, or running the school fundraiser, and suddenly feel inadequate.

Remember that these are only some of their moments, and likely the best ones. Very few people share their darkest moments. Stop comparing your worst to someone else's best. Social media is not reality and motherhood is not a competition.

5. Be honest

Motherhood can be beautiful, but it can also be lonely. That sense of isolation is frequently rooted in a lack of honesty about parenthood challenges. Because discussions of motherhood are often censored, it can feel that we are the only ones struggling. We change this by being unedited and truthful when sharing our experiences.

Honesty fosters meaningful relationships and helps us to build the villages we so desperately need. Authentic connections are imperative to our wellness and are only developed through honesty. Allow yourself to have those genuine support systems.

Originally posted on HealthyWomen.

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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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