To my long-distance mom friends who support me from miles away—thank you

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If I spend too much time thinking about how far apart we are from each other right now, I’m just going to start crying.


You’re not supposed to live this far away from me.

I got really used to having you next to me (like, literally all the time). You are in pretty much every memory I have of my young life. In fact most of those moments were made memorable because of you—

I was a scared and awkward college freshman. I was unpacking my boxes, hiding my face so no one could see my tears and nervousness, I looked up, quickly and cautiously... and there you were.

You were there to show me that I might actually not have to eat alone for my dreaded first meal in the dining hall.

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You were there to show me that tapestries could be used as a decoration for a dorm wall, a blanket for “movie on the quad” night, and even a skirt when you’re in a bind.

You were there to tell me that hitchhiking our way back to our spring break hotel probably wasn’t a good idea, so we should just walk instead, even though our flip flops were broken. (Thanks for that, btw.)

You were there every time our song came on. Scream-singing loudly right next to me so I didn’t have to be embarrassed.

You were there when he broke my heart. You were so there.

You were there when I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up... again.

You were there when I moved across the country to pursue it.

You were there when I met the one who didn’t break my heart. There for our first date, there when he asked and when I said yes, and there when we said I do.

You were there when we were at the bar and everyone else was drinking vodka, and I was “subtly” drinking cranberry juice, pretending it was vodka. You looked at me with tears in your eyes, because you knew what that meant and because you were so excited to be with me during my pregnancy.

You were there moments after she was born, bringing me my favorite candy and telling me how strong I was.

But now our lives have taken us to different parts of the country—something that a few short years ago would have seemed impossible. “We’re gonna live in the same city forever,” we said, “Our kids are going to be best friends like us,” we said.

We did everything together. Every fun, challenging, dumb, emotional, thrilling, ridiculous thing. So how is it that we’re doing motherhood away from each other? This is the hardest most amazing thing I have ever done, and you should be here, right next to me, doing it with me.

Yet somehow the distance between us doesn’t seem to matter much. Somehow, despite different time zones and different lives, you still manage to inspire, motivate and lift me up every single day.

What I am trying to say, is thank you.

Thank you for listening when I vent, even when it seems like all I ever do is vent.

Thank you for not getting mad at me when it takes way too long to return your call or text. And when we finally do talk, thank you for never making polite chit-chat with me—we dive into conversation as we’ve already been talking for hours, and I love it.

Thank you for helping me pick out date-night outfits via Facetime.

Thank you for always sending me an Evite to your parties, even when you know I can’t come.

Thank you for being genuinely excited when I text you and say, “I think I may have met a new mom-friend here!”

Thank you for sending me the misprinted Christmas card, and saving the perfectly printed ones for your in-laws. I display it with pride.

Thank you for saying "you definitely need that” when I text you pictures of stuff from Target.

Thank you for always being the first one to like my Facebook posts, no matter how silly they are.

Thank you for tagging me in photos of old ladies sitting together in nursing homes and saying, “This is gonna be us one day!”

Thank you for telling me how cute my kids are when I bombard you with photos.

Thank you for asking, “How are you?” and genuinely wanting to know the answer.

Thank you for ugly laughing with me.

Thank you for celebrating my successes as if they were your own... because in so many ways, I could never have had them without you.

We used to spend every waking moment together, and now I can’t even remember the last time I saw you in person. Yet I feel just as close to you today as I did then.

You are my rock. And I promise to always be yours.

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Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life

I am broken.

It has happened again and I am breaking even more. Soon, the pieces will be too small to put back together.

The negative pregnancy test sits on my bathroom sink like a smug ex-lover. I am left pleading, How could you do this to me again? I thought it would be different this time. I had hope.

We are still trying. It has been 11 months and 13 days and there has been no progress. No forward momentum. No double solid lines. The emptiness of the space where the line should be mocks me.

I am broken.

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No amount of planning and scheming and effort is enough. I am not enough because I cannot make a chemical reaction happen at the exact moment it needs to happen. I cannot do what I want but oh how I wish I could.

It almost happened once. Two months ago, I felt different. Sore breasts and aware of the world like never before. I felt not empty. The blankness had been replaced by someone. I was sure of it. And I was late. Six days late and I thought this is it.

I didn't rush to test because I didn't want to jinx it. Or perhaps I just didn't want to let go of that string of hope. Without evidence that you're not actually here, I can pretend that you are.

So I waited. And I Googled early pregnancy symptoms and I kept an eye out for red spots I hoped I would never see. I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided the next morning would be the test.

But when I woke up, I knew it was just me. The feeling I had been feeling was gone and I knew, just knew, what I would find.

This test had words instead of lines. 'Not pregnant' it blared loudly, obnoxiously, insensitively.

I am broken.

It was four in the morning and I stood in my tiny bathroom apartment silently sobbing. Alone.

Perhaps you were there for a brief moment, but then you were gone.

I stared again at the stick.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

It was taunting me now.

I wrapped it in a paper towel. Walked down three flights of stairs to the front of my building and threw it in the garbage can outside.

Later, when my husband woke, I told him I was wrong. There was nothing there after all.

And I mourned. All day long, I mourned. While I walked to work. While I said hello to my co-workers. While I answered questions and pretended to smile and tried not to think of the broken body I was living in.

The next day the blood arrived. Furious. Both of us infuriated it was there once again.

Can I keep doing this?

Am I broken?

Will I get to the point where I just… stop? Stop hoping. Stop praying. Stop wishing. Stop. Trying.

Am I broken? Or can I keep going?

Life

One of my biggest jobs as a mama is to create a foundation for my kids to become trailblazers and problem-solvers. It's not an easy task. I'm constantly wondering what type of person they'll become and how I can ensure they'll be awesome citizens of the world. For me, part of raising and encouraging future leaders starts with exposure—the more I introduce them to notable leaders in history, the better they can envision their own future.

This is why I love when brands create inspirational clothing and accessories for kids. And this month, Piccolina, a lifestyle brand for littles, added an exclusive Black History Month capsule collection to their trailblazer tees series and they are too cute for words.

The Black History Month line honors heroic leaders like Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks on colorful tees. It even features illustrations by emerging artists of color like Monica Ahanonu, Erin Robinson and Joelle Avelino who are, in my opinion, just as important.

In addition to the tops, the collection features art prints that coincide with the shirts, making this a perfect addition to any kids room—and even mama's office. Perhaps even more exciting are the price points: The limited-edition tees retail for $28 and framed art prints are $60.

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

This cotton tee features a portrait of the award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist and is the perfect way for your little one to celebrate her inner storyteller. A portion of the shirts proceeds benefit non-profit organizations that support girls' education and empowerment, such as the Malala Fund and Step Up.

$28

While I'm not sure what type of person my little ones will become, I'm certain that introducing them to leaders will help them have greater self-confidence and reinforce that they are competent and resilient, too. And what mama can't get behind that? Now the hardest part is deciding which ones to purchase.

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