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*This* is when motherhood gets easier

Try not to worry—it will get easier. Eventually, your kids will even help you bend and reach—towards whatever it is you need them to.

*This* is when motherhood gets easier

When I had my first baby I often found myself wondering... When does it get easier? Everything seemed so overwhelming when my babies were little. The crying, the mind-numbing chores like bottle washing, and of course, the nights when they had earaches or a new tooth coming in.

I would be adding to my to-do list without even crossing anything off. Yes, I soaked in all of my baby's' firsts and appreciated the funny moments of motherhood—it's not that I wished those joyous years away. It's just that mothering can be exhausting and I wondered when my days wouldn't be quite as tiring.

And after more than a handful of years of motherhood, I just may have the answer to that question, because now I know that it does, indeed, get easier.

When my kids were younger—ages one and three specifically—I remember struggling daily. Their sibling squabbles began once my daughter could walk and talk. Plus, the monotony of motherhood started to smother me. The tedious tasks of folding the tiny onesies, putting toys back into bins, and the tuck-ins served as ingredients to the perfect hormonal storm looming inside of me.

But the worst chore was always unloading the dishwasher. In fact, I remember my own mother, a mom of four, telling me, "There were days I wanted to cry when I'd have to unload the dishwasher again." There's something about that task—the constant bending and reaching—it's just like how motherhood can feel at times, isn't it?

We bend for our beloved children, changing our life's path, or even halting our own goals completely. We bend by giving our children what they need and deserve—our constant love and devotion. But with all that bending, we're often left depleted.

And we constantly reach—to be the perfect mother, a stronger wife or better daughter. But we never quite grab a hold of who we want to be or what we need to accomplish. When our kids are little, we never catch up. The onesies stay in the dryer, the toys remain on the carpet, and yes, the dishes sit in the dishwasher.

But finally, at ages four and six, I finally don't want to cry when emptying the dishwasher. I don't want to scream as I bend and reach. Because now I know the fact that littleness is fleeting. I know that I only have a few more years of them feeling "little" before they grow into teenagers.

Simply put—I think I have found the sweet spot.

No, our days are not perfect. My kids squabble often and I still need to clean up the occasional accident. But they are finally not as exhausting. Today my kids can actually help me unload the dishwasher. My daughter likes to toss her plastic cups and plates into her bottom cabinet. And my son places the glass cups and coffee mugs up on the counter for me so I don't need to bend anymore.

And that's not all. They can articulate their feelings to me when they feel too heavy. I'm not left guessing why they're so irate. They can use the bathroom by themselves—and even wipe. My kids can get their own snacks, and even choose healthy ones from time-to-time.

And sometimes when we're lucky, the biggest perk of all happens, my small children play by themselves in the morning without waking up Mom and Dad. But still, things are far from perfect. There are days when I still lose my temper or feel so lonely in motherhood that I want to cry.

But, yes, it does get easier, moms.

The monotony of bending and reaching while emptying the dishwasher evaporates, but the memories of those belly laughs never do. You realize that you no longer need to strive to become that perfect mother. Your kids love you simply because you belong to them and they belong to you.

So try not to worry—it will get easier. Eventually, your kids will even help you bend and reach—towards whatever it is you need them to.

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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.

Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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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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