To my friend who had kids before me: I’m so sorry I judged you

I judged you, friend. I'm sorry.

At the time, I didn't see my reaction for what it was. But, now I'm a mother too, I'm calling myself out: I judged you.

I didn't mean to. I was wrong. So very wrong. I see that now. When you fed your children plain pasta with a side of dry Cheerios for dinner, I was secretly shocked. Why didn't you give them an elaborate dish filled with vegetables? Why didn't you put your foot down and force them to eat something healthy? You see, I was bold enough to have an opinion but not brave enough to discuss it with you.


I judged you. I was wrong.

Who was I to have an opinion on your mothering methods? Maybe you'd had a long night with your unsettled baby. Maybe your toddlers had consumed so much of you during the day that any dinner served to them should have been celebrated as an achievement. Maybe you were so drained from battling over food three times per day every day that you desperately wanted just one happy family meal together without any arguments.

I judged you. I was wrong.

When you gave your kids iPads so you could have a few minutes of peace I shouldn't have wondered what was stopping them from entertaining themselves with a book or puzzle. I should have been happy you valued me enough to try and carve out time for us to talk without interruptions. Or perhaps I should have been more curious about whether you really needed to share something important with me.

I missed that opportunity to listen because I judged you, I was wrong.

I shouldn't have instinctively stepped away from you that time you yelled at your children because they were misbehaving. Instead, I should have wondered why you seemed so different from the friend I once knew. I should have realized you would go home that night and cry yourself to sleep. I should have guessed that tears of shame would run down your face because you had spoken in that way to the people you love most in the world.

I judged you. I was wrong.

In my defense, back then I had no idea that sheer exhaustion could have such an effect on a person, no matter how kind and good a soul they have. I didn't know that a new mom's hormones could work so savagely against her. I just didn't know. But I should have asked you about it, not pass an opinion instead.

I judged you. I was wrong.

When your toddler threw a tantrum in the supermarket and you rewarded him with chocolate in exchange for his silence, why did I find it so awful? All eyes were on you as he screamed and screamed. You felt cornered. Your instincts kicked in to pacify the situation as quickly as possible. What was so terrible about that? And why didn't I help more? Friends shouldn't stay on the sidelines to avoid being involved in an awkward situation. They should jump in with you and laugh about it afterward. The problem was that I was scared of being judged by strangers, too.

But now I'm the one being judged. I'm on the other side of the parenting fence. All eyes are on me. The perfect parent I was before I had children disappeared dramatically the first night baby and I got home from the hospital.

I understand you now. I hope it's not too late.

I look back with shame on my actions. I wish I could change them. I see how desperate you must have felt and how small acts of kindness from other people can change the entire course of your day.

A smile instead of a frown from a stranger when your child refuses to return a sweet to the shop shelf. An understanding nod from another parent when your kid throws a sit-down protest rather than leave the soft play. A helping pair of hands as you try to wrestle a double stroller and two youngsters up the stairs of an ill-planned building. A sympathetic friend when you cancel yet another night out because you're just too exhausted. These are what make the difference to parents of little ones. And it doesn't take a lot of effort. All it takes is for someone not to judge. It's not hard. I realize that now.

I judged you, I was wrong. I will never do it again.

I wish I had given you more of these little acts of kindness. I'm grateful that you are giving them to me. You're my rock because you have been there before and you understand what I'm going through. And I promise that in return, I will go on to do the same for every new parent who comes into my life. Helping, understanding, supporting. Not judging, sighing or side-eyeing like I used to. I have learned my lesson and this is how I will make up for all that I did wrong before.

Parents should stick together, not bring each other down. There is room for us all to parent in our own unique ways without passing judgment on each other. I won't judge you.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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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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