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Three little words that changed my outlook as a mama forever

This simple change in sentence structure can rewire everything. Try it next time you're dragging your feet through the mud.

Three little words that changed my outlook as a mama forever

I am sure many of you have heard it before—the whole "I get to" versus "I have to" perspective. When I used to own a CrossFit gym, I relied on this mindset often. Because I feel like we tend to take our lives for granted—without even meaning to.

The most common complaint at the gym was always, "I have to workout… I have to do thrusters… I have to do burpees…"

But when we start any sentence with, "I have to…" it's pretty much a guaranteed to stink. And we lose out on what we get to gain in the situation. What we can learn. How we can grow and progress through it. How we can be a better version of ourselves.

Last week, I was humbly reminded of this perspective shift when we went to Disney World with our two girls. Our oldest is six, and our youngest is two. As every family who has braved Disney can relate, we had meltdowns and hissy fits galore. But we also had a ton of awesome moments, too!

There was one moment in particular, though.

We were waiting in line to meet Buzz Lightyear to get his autograph. My oldest had an autograph book and wanted to meet every character possible. So, we stood in line for about 30 minutes, which in a child's world, is like a billion minutes.

I am also pregnant with our third, about four months along. The combination of my pregnancy, my oldest's hyperactivity, and my youngest's whiny, needy stage—created a vortex of frustration for me.

I was tired, bloated, sweaty, and downright irritated.

I kept sighing heavily and rolling my eyes.

I HAVE TO stand in this stupid line and wait for Buzz Lightyear.

I HAVE TO pick up my youngest for the millionth time just to keep her quiet.

I HAVE TO be here in this hot weather, sweaty and miserable.

I was being a Negative Nancy. I fully admit it. And then, FINALLY, we were next in line. Oh, sweet relief!

But, wait. What was this?! Someone is cutting in front of us?! What the heck?!?!

An employee came up to me and said, "Excuse me, ma'am, but we have a family here with the Make a Wish Foundation. Would it be alright if their daughter went before you guys? You'll be right after them."

It took me a second to register what she was saying because I had to put my bad attitude aside and realize what was going on. I agreed, of course, and allowed the family to go in front of us.

And then, I watched the family.

The little girl was probably about 9 or 10 years old, and she danced around Buzz with her younger brother. The sheer excitement in her face was infectious to watch. Buzz spent a solid 10 minutes goofing off with them and making the girl laugh.

I watched her mother as she mentally recorded this moment in her heart. Tears streaming down her face. The grandparents were there, too, and they shared in the bittersweet moment.

I can only imagine as a mother myself that she was probably thinking something like, "I'll never get to do this with her ever again. I want to remember this forever. Her laugh. Her smile. This moment where she's not in any pain, and not thinking about the inevitable. She gets a whole day to be a kid and not a patient. I love her so much."

I suddenly realized that I was crying, too, because my oldest asked me what was wrong with my eyes.

I shook my finger at myself. While, yes—we are all human and we can't live life in fear of death at all times, but we can choose gratitude at any time.

I had forgotten in a classic parental moment of frustration that I GET TO bring my kids to Disney World, I GET TO wait in line for Buzz and then watch my daughter's eyes light up as she meets him, and I GET TO bring them back here again and again and again throughout the years.

I GET TO sleep soundly at night knowing my kids are healthy and safe.

I GET TO hold my youngest for the millionth time, and I know that there will be millions more ahead.

I GET TO remind and discipline my oldest time and time again and teach her how to be a good person as she gets older and older. I GET TO watch her grow old.

I GET TO enjoy a week in Disney World with my girls and then go home and continue life with them as normal. No hospital visits await us. No medications. No treatments. No Hospice. No conversations with my daughter about what Heaven might be like.

This simple change in sentence structure can rewire everything. Try it next time you're dragging your feet through the mud.

I GET TO go to work today. I GET TO sit in traffic and listen to a podcast. I GET TO work a double shift and get paid overtime. I GET TO go to the grocery store and buy anything I want for my family. I GET TO walk my dog. I GET TO wake up at 4:30 am to workout at 5 am. I GET TO make choices for myself.

Choose gratitude.

Being a mother has taught me so much about gratitude and grace. While I try to be the best parent I can be for them, they are in turn teaching me how to be a better person each and every day of my life, and what a privilege that is.

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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 Comfortsforbaby.com 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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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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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