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yelling at your kids

I was halfway through lunch preparations and the water for pasta was about to boil over. My kids were out on the deck playing and for the moment, all was quiet.

Then came my son, announcing that he was ready to come inside. He also claimed that my daughter wanted to come in, too, even though she was still happily playing. As he continued to argue his case, the sizzling sound of water boiling over echoed through the kitchen. And still my son stood in the doorway.

I knew the chicken nuggets were probably already burning and now my daughter was also trying to get through the doorway, ready to make a beeline for the oven. And so I did the only thing I could do.

I yelled.


I yelled at my son. I committed what felt like the ultimate parenting faux pas. Even though there are countless articles and books out there about resisting the urge to yell at our children (and I'd read plenty of them), I did it anyway.

I wasn't even angry. I was frustrated with him, sure, and I was worried about ruining lunch, but I wasn't angry. I just needed him to come inside and close the door. So I did the only thing that I knew would guarantee that he'd come in. I yelled at him.

The effect was instantaneous. He began to cry. He closed the door. He went into the living room to retrieve his teddy bear. I continued preparing lunch as I debated the appropriateness of my actions. Was I wrong to have yelled? Was there something else that I could have done? Had I damaged my relationship with my son by yelling?

Less than five minutes later, my son was in my arms chatting with me as if nothing had happened. Only the salt stains on his cheeks were left as proof. And as we sat down to lunch, I realized something important.

Sometimes you just need to yell. Sometimes yelling is the only way to guarantee that you'll be heard. And at that moment, I needed to be heard.

I don't yell very often. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times that I've really yelled at my children. I'm just not much of a yeller. It's probably the biggest reason my son responded immediately. Yelling is not normal in our house. But at that moment, I needed my son to listen to me, so I did the only thing I knew would get him to hear me.

I didn't do it out of anger. I did it because I needed to be heard. With the oven beeping, the water boiling over and both of my children talking incessantly, I couldn't run the risk of my voice being drowned out. I needed my son to listen to me for safety purposes—I didn't want both of them to run in right toward the hot oven. I just needed him to listen.

Yelling doesn't always have to be bad. When a child is in danger, yelling might be the most effective way of keeping a child safe. When the environment is loud, yelling might be the most effective way of being heard.

I'm not advocating yelling all the time—I think my yelling was only effective because it is so rare. I don't generally yell at my kids, and I try really hard not to yell out of anger. I don't want to scare my son, but I do want him to listen. I need him to listen, especially when someone's safety is on the line.

Most importantly, I know I'm not ruining my relationship with my son if I yell at him every once in a while. Occurrences are few and far between, and I know he falls asleep every night knowing I love him.

After I yelled, I spent a few minutes wondering if I had done the right thing, but by the time we sat down to lunch, all was well in my son's world again. I knew everything was fine the moment he came to sit in my lap, looking for comfort. He still came to me even though I'd yelled at him. Because he knew I would hold him. Because he knew I would comfort him. Because he knew I loved him.

And when love is overflowing and yelling is rare, that's all that matters.

So, mama, know that sometimes we're going to yell—we're only human, after all—but it doesn't make you a bad mom. We're doing okay.

Products that solve your biggest breastfeeding challenges

Including a battle plan for clogged ducts!

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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

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5 brilliant products that encourage toddler independence

Help your little one help themselves.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

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

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I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have kids—so here’s what I did

We asked our three most pessimistic friends who have kids whether it's worth it or not

As told to Liz Tenety.

Around the time my husband and I were turning 30, we had a genuine conversation about whether or not we wanted kids. I was the hesitant one because I was like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let's just hold on. Okay, let's talk about this. Because we love our life. We like traveling. Is this what we want?"

My husband said, "Let's ask our three most pessimistic, crabby friends who have kids whether or not it's worth it."

And every single one of them was like, "Oh, it's unmissable on planet earth."

So when I got pregnant, I was—and I'm not ashamed to say this and I don't think you should be—I was as connected with the baby in my belly as if it were a water bottle. I was like, I don't know you. I don't know what you are, but you can be some gas pain sometimes, but other than that, we're going to have to meet each other and suss this relationship out.

But all the cliches are true that you just know what to do when the baby comes out. Some of the times are hard, some of them are easier, but you just gotta use your gut.

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