Coping with disappointment: The eye-opening lesson my daughter and I *both* learned

Life happens. From relationships to prized possessions, things get broken, whether by accident or intention. What matters is what we do when brokenness occurs.

Coping with disappointment: The eye-opening lesson my daughter and I *both* learned

I wasn't looking forward to my daughter discovering the handle on her favorite Frozen mug was broken and fragmented into four separate pieces. The damage had occurred accidentally, of course, when our roommate was washing dishes in the sink. He alerted me to the casualty and my first instinct was to find a replacement mug to switch with the broken one before she finds out.

When you're only 3 years old, you don't have enough life experience to temper that kind of disappointment. Many of her possessions could be lost or broken without her noticing or caring much, but there are those treasured few she is particularly attached to and requests constantly. The white mug sporting pink and purple snowflakes and portraits of Elsa and Anna's smiling faces is one of them.


When a quick Amazon search yielded no results and my busy schedule prevented a visit to the specialty Christmas and Disney store where I had purchased the original mug, the matter slipped temporarily from my mind.

Until it was too late.

Several nights later, we were preparing hot cocoa and popcorn to accompany our frequent ritual of reading books to her stuffed animals—a black cat that's actually a puppet, a floppy purple bunny, a cinnamon roll, and a giant life-like tiger named Hobbes. Before I could intervene, she requested her Frozen mug and my heart broke when I realized I had not accomplished the crafty switch I had not-so-strategically planned.

Her disappointment, as expected, was swift and sincere.

Always the curious soul, she repeatedly asked how it happened and why it happened and confirmed it was an accident. I assured her we would try to find a new one in the next few weeks and that seemed to quell her sorrow a bit. But she didn't seem genuinely cheered up.

Then it hit me. Why not fix it?

There are a couple of reasons why this solution originally didn't cross my mind. First, I do not consider myself a handy person…at all. The inventory of tools I can sufficiently wield is a hammer, screwdriver, duct tape and a paintbrush. Second, I suffer from the perhaps somewhat natural impulse to provide my daughter with the best. I don't want her having to use a broken mug. But is that truly for her sake or mine?

So I pitched the idea to my daughter, hopeful we had superglue somewhere. Her face lit up and the excitement was palpable. Of course, we should fix it, her reaction seemed to say. We can fix anything.

Several minutes later, the job was done. While the big pieces had been recovered, a few smaller chips had not, so the cracks were still visible. That didn't matter to her, she was ecstatic to have such a treasured possession repaired.

Watching my toddler's reaction, it hit me how lucky I was that Amazon didn't carry an identical product. If they had, I would have opted for that easy, uncomplicated option to avoid her justifiably negative reaction. I would have trashed the original mug in exchange for a new one.

Instead, we fixed it.

That meant she had to experience her disappointment first, but my job as a mom isn't to shield my daughter from every negative emotion and experience. Instead, I get to teach her how to handle them, helping along the way.

Because life happens. From relationships to prized possessions, things get broken, whether by accident or intention.

What matters is what we do when brokenness occurs.

My daughter's Frozen mug is no less special to her now than it was before, even if the handle was pieced back together with glue. If anything, the item is all the more precious because it was damaged, and now it is not. She got to experience the joy of putting something special back together, making it whole again.

In a throwaway society, where many possessions and even relationships can seem expendable, how rewarding it is to have a little person demonstrate the value of persistent attachment. Today it's a mug, but several years down the road it may be a friendship or something even larger. When this happens, I hope she remembers she can cope with the inevitable sorrow—and that there's usually a way to fix what was broken.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.


I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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