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Exactly five years ago, at 9:21 a.m., I got the first glimpse at the soul who made me a mother.


The doctor put her on my belly and I looked at her in awe. When they announced excitedly “It’s a girl,” I barely registered that information. I was staring at the perfectly formed tiny human that I grew for 42 weeks. I made that—and it was perfect! I admired the button nose, the chubby cheeks, the beautiful, perfect ears in disbelief. Wow! So this is what a miracle looks like!

We get to do all of that inside our growing bellies. It requires no thinking, not (many) deliberate activities or conscious action on our part. It just happens because that’s how nature made it happen.

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It’s magic.

What I didn’t know back then was that this tiny bundle of clenched fists and layered fluff would initiate the deepest, most profound transformation, soul evolution and mind-blowing personal development for me.

Today she is 5 and we’ve been busy celebrating her latest desire to be a mermaid. I’ve baked a sugar-free cake, the lemonade dispenser is empty and I can now sit down and share with you some of the things I’ve learned these past five years.

1. Parenting a child became revolutionary the moment I realized that this is my chance to reparent myself

The way I was parented was not ideal for me. I wish I were held when I was sent away to my room. I wish I were taught to ask questions rather than memorize. I wish I were supported in making mistakes and learn from them instead of striving for perfection.
I strongly believe that my mother and father loved me deeply, the best they could. But that doesn’t mean that was good enough for me.

So, when I had a child, all the painful memories of my childhood once again resurfaced. I thought them healed or at least gone. They weren’t.

When my daughter did something similar to what I did when I was small, I had a choice to react the same way my parents reacted to me and continue the cycle, strengthening the belief that it was the right thing. When she became angry, I could send her to her room to deal with it. That would have been the easiest for me. But then I remembered how that felt. Lonely. Raging. Misunderstood. “Me against them.”

So I didn’t.

Instead, I sat there, in the middle of her anger storm and took it all in. I allowed her to cry as loud and as long as she wanted to. I encouraged her to express it all, even (and especially) when it wasn’t “proper.” While I stood there, battling my demons and desperately repeating to myself, “I am a good mother. This is not about me. This is her right to be accepted and loved unconditionally.” And guess what? Eventually, the storm passed. The anger passed. And the silence followed. And that’s when the good stuff comes. Holding her, telling her that everybody has big feelings and that it’s perfectly okay to take them out of your body, mind, and soul. The soft, deep tears at the end. Hers. And mine. Mixed.

She healed her anger.

I healed my past.

I was kind when I could have been distant.

I stood still when I could have run away.

I opened up to feel sadness and helplessness, even when it was excruciating.

Everything my children do is an opportunity for me to repeat the history or create a new pattern of behavior and thought that would affect not only me and my children but the generations to come.

Sitting in pain is hard. But it passes. It always does. And that’s when the good things start happening. If we check out for the hard stuff, we are opting out from the growth and healing that come after.

2. When it’s difficult physically, it’s the most rewarding emotionally

The first year of the baby’s life is, in my opinion, the hardest. Birthing hurts and leaves scars, both physically and emotionally. Breastfeeding can be challenging and sometimes very painful. Lack of sleep is a medieval torture method. Adjustments must be made in identity, relationships, roles and responsibilities and the person I thought I was but no longer am. It’s transformational.

But that first year when my struggle was at its highest peak, that tiny baby who entered my life had one emotional role: to love me. She wanted to be held the entire time, cuddled, adored and snuggled. She could look in my eyes for hours and sleep while holding my finger very tight. She showed me what unconditional love meant for her and helped me remember and rediscover mine. It was hard work because I never knew that I could be somebody else’s everything.

3. When it becomes easier, it only gets deeper

When my baby started sleeping longer, becoming more self-sufficient, eating by herself and doing things more independently, that’s when I felt I was given the mental space so I can deal with the next stage:

tantrums, anger and tears

frustrations

questions

My child cried for 45 minutes because her cereal wasn’t crunchy enough.
She asked me “why do you like me, mama,” “what’s my risponsibilitee” and “why did the iPad battery finish and will my battery finish as well” in a span of 20 minutes.

Yes, I was gifted more sleep, but I need that so I can come up with better answers to these questions.

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4. Everything that is triggered in me by my child has more to do with me

All moms get triggered by different things. While for you, allowing your kids to roam freely during dinner and just come for a bite here and there is a perfectly fine way to conduct life, for another mother this is quite possibly borderline insanity. The difference? How we relate to these experiences based on our own history.

So when my child stands up during dinner time to go fetch a toy, I could just say, “Please sit down, we are all still eating dinner.”

That normally doesn’t happen.

Instead, many of us bring out the big guns almost immediately:

“If you stand up from the table there is no more food!”

“You’re driving me crazy! I’ve been preparing this food for hours, and all you do now is take a bite and leave!”

“Go to your room. Dinner is over!”

“Sit down right now. Otherwise, I will take all of your toys away!”

“You are disrespecting me!”

“Really? Is this something you really MUST do right now? Really?”

“I’ve been working hard so I can put this food on the table! You now sit down and eat it!”

In reality, we are mostly reacting from a place of hurt.

I was raised with a scarcity mentality. There was never enough; there might not be more tomorrow, the food was precious and everybody had to finish their plate even when it wasn’t necessary or enjoyable. I understand why my parents did it. They were subjected to this as children of parents who had to survive during not one, but two wars, lack of food, safety and love.

I’m grateful I don’t have to battle with this anymore, so I choose to let it go. When my kid is full, I respect her judgment and body. When she doesn’t like the food I cooked, I am sure to make a note of her preferences without taking it personally.

It’s never about something that my child does. It’s all how I view it from my own experience. But the unconscious, knee-jerk reaction is almost always the same one I encountered as a child. The biggest triggers I feel gravitate around food, expressing negative emotions, self-discovery, perceived danger and academic results.

5. The way I talk to my child is the way she will talk to herself and others

I discovered this as I was eavesdropping during bedtime. I put the kids to bed one evening and I stepped out. The three of them share a room—and one of them is noisier than the other two.

My oldest daughter was softly whispering, “It’s ok, I’m here with you and I love you very much. You are safe. Just close your eyes, cuddle your Mimi and think about all the happy things that happened today.”

Noisy child continued making noise. She followed, “Now I’m serious! You close your eyes! It’s time! Right now!”

Even though it was funny, I could hear myself in her words.

The other day, just before bedtime she was making a list of all the things she loves: “I love my family, I love my papa the most, I love my mama, I love my brother, I love my sister, I love my Mimi, I love myself, I love my toys, I love my bed. The end.”

We talk about self-love, self-compassion and treating ourselves and our bodies with kindness, gentleness and love. And now, she says it out loud “I love myself.” It was the proudest I’ve ever felt as a parent. What more do I want to instill in my child if not a base of self-love?

In many homes around the world, however, parents still believe in “tough love,” telling the kids they are not enough, they are not doing enough and they haven’t achieved enough—in an effort to so motivate them to do more.

And while this goal might be reached and those kids will indeed become more successful, their inner dialogue will mirror the words they heard: “you are not enough,” “you are not doing enough,” “you haven’t achieved enough.”

These are my lessons. While not all have been easy to accept or allow in my heart, they have been radically changing the way I think, behave, love and react to my children and the other people around me.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.


Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda

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When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia

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Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)

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Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat

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This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)

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Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat

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Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

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We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)

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Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

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With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat

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Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)

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Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)

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This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara
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Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
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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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"

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Eva Mendes Admits Parenting Two Girls With Ryan Gosling Is 'Fun, Beautiful And Maddening' www.youtube.com


And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.

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When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."

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👏👏👏

She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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