To the mama who wakes up exhausted

Plus the one change you should make that can help.

To the mama who wakes up exhausted

Oh beautiful mama, you are tired for so many reasons. So many valid reasons.

You’re tired because of a lack of sleep.

You’re tired because you stayed up past your bedtime. You’re tired because you couldn’t sleep. You’re tired because you nursed your newborn seven times last night. You’re tired because you were working late again. You’re tired because you had to catch up on Olivia Pope’s latest adventure after you got the kids to sleep. You’re tired because even when you tried to lay down and close your eyes, they just didn’t seem like they wanted to close.

You’re tired because you’re a mother.

You’re tired because you were changing accident sheets at 1 am then puke sheets on the other bed at 3 am. You’re tired because you can’t decide which preschool to send your kiddo to and it kept you up all night. You’re tired because you fell asleep on the ground next to your toddler's crib until your partner came to wake you up. You’re tired because you jolted awake at 4 am wondering, Is everyone fine? Did I roll over on the baby?

You’re tired because you’re being pulled in different directions at the same time.

You’re trying to get back into working out. You’re tired because you’re on a deadline or because you’re just back from another work trip. You’re tired because you need to make it to your son’s school presentation then your doctor's appointment then to your daughter’s soccer game then your work meeting then home for dinner then finish the laundry then look over the budget then finish that spreadsheet...then, then, then….

You’re tired because of the season you’re in.

You’re tired because you’re in the throes of new motherhood, trying to find your ground. You’re tired because you’re a seasoned mama who is still trying to find her balance. You’re tired because you’ve recently expanded your family and you’re back in that foggy fourth trimester. You’re tired because you’re recovering from birth, you’re getting over (another) cold, your hormones are so up and down that you’ve had a headache for the past three days.

You’re tired because of the mental load and the emotional labor.

You’re tired because you are the CEO of your home. Because you have a list of to-do’s the size of a CVS receipt when you score big on ExtraCare coupons. You’re tired because you are remembering so many things at one time. One thought pops into your head, then a reminder squashes it, then another thought clouds that reminder and then a worry trumps all and adds in some anxiety on top of all the thing going on inside your mind and before you know it, you feel like you’re simultaneously forgetting everything and remembering all the things—at the same time! (Sometimes it feels like motherhood is really doing a number on my brain.)

You’re tired because the role of ‘mother’ is a physical one.

You are carrying toddlers, you are giving piggyback rides, you are hauling 10 grocery bags inside at once. You are crawling on the floor pretending you’re a tiger that the princess rides around the kingdom. You are picking up lots of toys and wiping endless messes. You’re craning your neck and tweaking your back while feeding your baby countless times.

You know what you’re doing, my friend? You’re kind of trying to pretend there are more than 24 hours in a day. You know how I know that? I am kind of doing that, too.

I feel your exhaustion hit the second your eyes pop open in the morning. I know you have no need for an alarm clock as you’re woken up each day by your eager preschooler. I see you make your way to your coffee machine and load it up with the grinds that will magically bring you to life.

I don’t have the brilliant cure for not feeling like a mombie anymore. (But I do have a feeling it has to do with getting more sleep if I had to guess…)

But what I do have for you is understanding. I just wanted to say: I get it. I’m in it. And we both know, it won’t always be like this.

So for now, I can tell you a little bit about how I am coping with my exhaustion. I am asking for and accepting help. I am being gentle with myself—I am not beating myself up when things don’t look perfectly or go perfectly.

And here’s some real talk for you. I just snapped at my 2-year-old for barging into my office again right after I sent a snooty text to my husband. I haven’t showered since Sunday and it’s now Wednesday. I have been up until 1 am too many days in a row to count, and I have a big deadline in five days, but you know what?

Right now, I need a second. So I am going to take a shower.

To-do list? I’ll be back in a bit. Right now I need 30 minutes to myself. Don’t forget to ask yourself what you need today, too. Deal?

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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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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

Our Partners

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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