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To the moms who keep it real, thank you

There’s no greater gift than to be invited into another person’s truth.

To the moms who keep it real, thank you

It’s tempting to pretend there aren’t Ritz crackers hidden deep inside my shag carpet, along with some other things I probably don’t want to know about. It’s tempting to pretend my 4-year-old doesn’t rock the same “favorite” dress three days in a row, and that I don’t currently smell like men’s Old Spice deodorant.


Sometimes I’d rather my life looked like an Instagram feed of awesome. I’d also rather my butt looked like a bubble instead of a wide pancake, but we all have to live our truth.

The thing I’ve noticed is that when I don’t pretend, I find my people (the ones who don’t pretend either), and to me that reward is everything. Literally everything.

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So to the women, the moms, the people, who don’t pretend…

THANK YOU.

Thank you for your bravery.

There is no one more beautiful to me than you.

There’s no one more beautiful to me than my friend with a messy bun on top of her head, a kitchen sink overflowing with dishes, a screaming baby on her hip, and a struggle she’s in the middle of.

There’s no one more beautiful to me than my friend who walked through a terrible miscarriage open and vulnerably, and is now holding her rainbow baby in her arms.

The reality is that life is raw and unpredictable.

There’s no one more perfect to me than the ones who walk bravely in their imperfection.

There’s no house I’d rather be in than the one where real people live. The ones where there are messes, dirty laundry, true stories, laughter and tears. I will take my friends with all of it, and a glass of wine on the side.

There’s no greater gift than to be invited into another person’s truth.

So please don’t think when you don’t pretend it doesn’t matter to people. It really matters. It changes the status quo and it reminds all of us that we are alright and that messes can be beautiful.

Maybe just maybe, our kids will learn not to pretend, too. Maybe just maybe, they will come to us when they’ve failed and made epic mistakes. Maybe instead of hiding and lying they will share their tears and share their struggle with us like we’ve shared our struggle with others.

All we can offer our kids, our friends, our partners, our world, is ourselves. The truest, rawest, most honest version is the most powerful one (whether we feel that’s true or not). When we stop pretending we are one step freer, and when we stop pretending we free others to do the same.

Our kids, our families, our friends, don’t need a Pinterest-worthy living room (although those are nice), they don’t need socks that match every day or someone who never ugly cries. They need us.

So while I was thinking it would be cool to have kids dressed like miniature fashionistas instead of children who rolled out of a Goodwill bin…those days will be few and far between.

I’m okay with people seeing that this mama is a hot mess.

It makes it easier for my village to find me and I firmly believe…

I’m enough as I am, and you are, too.

Originally posted on Wonderoak.

In This Article

    Sunday Citizen

    I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

    I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

    If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

    So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

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    Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

    There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

    With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

    Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

    Minimize smoke exposure.

    Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

    Do your best to filter the air.

    According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

    Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

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