A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
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For #MotherlyStories | Conventional wisdom says that we learn how to parent from our own parents.

But in the months since my son’s birth, I’ve found myself reflecting on how my mother and father raised me, mimicking their phrases and seeking their advice as I make decisions. A great deal of how I parent does come from their example but, how I define motherhood, and how I set expectations for my own experience, is driven by a much broader collection of examples set by women whose paths I crossed long before I even held my son in my arms.

When I was a teenager, I spent six summers working as a lifeguard. I loved the job, I got spend time outdoors, hang-out with my friends and swim and tan on my breaks. I taught swim lessons and organized Fourth of July activities, hosted birthday parties and taught water aerobics. During those six hot summers, I cleaned the bathrooms and emptied the trash hundreds of times, I plucked thousands of wet cheerios from the pool deck and put endless Band-Aids on endless skinned knees. I blew my whistle for adult swim and for thunder and to slow little running feet. I jumped in a handful of times, adrenaline pumping, to pull a child, in over their head, safely to the side. Mostly though, hour after hour, year after year, I sat, hot and invisible on my lifeguard stand, watching the pool.


And, as I sat and I watched, I began to study motherhood.

In my early teens, my observations were shallow- I noticed the swimwear each mom chose and tried to determine if she’d lost her “baby weight.” I looked at the cars they drove and wondered if they worked or stayed at home and what they did with their kids when they weren’t at the pool. I listened to their babies names, cooed, giggled and sometimes yelled across the deck, and tried them on for size with my own last name. I made lists in the margins of my books of the best names, the worst names, the silly things I’d heard kids fighting about that day.

As I matured, I began to think about what I wanted for my own life. As I considered how I might shape my future, I started to look more critically at the different family structures and parenting styles I saw each day. In some families, the mother’s spouse joined them exclusively on Saturdays, while in others, the kids came to swim with a babysitter and their mother showed up later, sometimes in a business suit, sometimes in her swim suit. Some mothers hovered over their children, choreographing every social interaction, while other moms rarely looked up from their books. Sitting in the same chair for six years gave me a unique perspective of these families, often I got to watch dynamics changes as children aged or siblings were added. I was surprised to learn that parents grew too, that they evolved each summer to meet the needs of their ever-growing children.

When my then-boyfriend and now husband joined the lifeguarding staff the summer after our senior year of high school, I quizzed him and memorized his answer—I wanted to know what he thought of these families, of the mothers, because I wanted to know what he expected a mother, and a family, to act and look like. Which parents did he like best? What families did he think were cool? How many kids were too many? Should moms be free to wear whatever swimsuit they wanted or should they stick to skirted one-pieces?

There were several mothers I was particularly interested in. There was a mother of six who homeschooled and cooked and crafted. Her children were polite, kind and thoughtful and seemed to love playing with one another as much as they did their friends. She brought the lifeguards cookies every week and shared her gratitude for the safe space we created for the neighborhood kids. I overheard her once, deep in conversation with one of her friends, sharing the simultaneous joy and sorrow she felt with each milestone that her youngest reached. She told me in passing once how quickly children grow up.

Another woman I admired had two little boys, two years apart. Their energy and laughter was contagious and she never hesitated to jump in the pool and play with them. In the evenings, as the boys piled into their minivan, they looked tired and happy. She told me once that she loved her boys more deeply than she ever thought was possible. She also told me that parenthood had ruined her career. She advised me to have kids only when I was confident that I didn’t want to advance any further in my field of choice.

When I was a junior in high school, a new family joined the pool. The mother swam laps with her baby sitting on her kick-board and always stopped by the guard table to chat before she left. One afternoon, after I asked how she was able to come to the pool so often, she told me that she and her husband both worked and that she had waited to have her daughter until they could both cut back their hours and share equally in the parenting duties. She told me laughing, to make sure I married someone who wouldn’t think he was special just for getting up to change a diaper in the night. She also shared something I’d never heard before, that love for a baby can come slowly sometimes and that time was the key to helping it grow.

These women, open and generous, were unaware that their input was shaping my views on motherhood. Their example, their work schedules and parenting styles and reflections, helped me develop my own expectations and desires around motherhood. I listened to their advice and tucked it away, hoping that one day I would have the experience to understand what motherhood really was.

During my college years I continually defined and redefined what I wanted out of life. I knew I wanted a career, a marriage, motherhood and deep, lasting friendships, but I didn’t know how to shape my life in such a way that nothing got left out. I searched for more women to watch, more mothers to study, to show me how it might be possible.

I listened intently as an English Literature professor explained the nuances of a poem that described the bodily intensity of new motherhood. I took notes when my sociology professor, a brilliant woman with three daughters, talked at length about the logistical and emotional difficulties of going back to work weeks after a baby is born and then continuing to work, with a baby, a toddler and a school-aged child. The challenges she described seemed never-ending, but, then again, there she was.

I learned of the stress and worry that sometimes comes with parenting when the woman whose children I nannied for shared with me that, at times, her dreams were haunted by the thought of not registering her daughter for camp in time. She cried once, when a last minute doctor’s appointment for her mother came up and I had to volunteer in her daughter’s pre-school class in her place. Married later in life and caring for her aging parents, this mama was tired. She told me to have kids as soon as I could, that I should take advantage of my youth and energy and the ability I would have as a young mother to put my children first.

Babysitting again in graduate school, I met a mother who breastfeed her daughter until she was two-years-old. What once seemed foreign to me began to look normal. I listened as she described her parenting philosophies and shared the dreams she had for her daughter. This woman, a stay-at-home mother, talked at length about the privilege and sacrifice that full days with her daughter were. My employer and my friend, she spoke to her daughter gently and with great patience, and, in her presence, I learned about attachment parenting and baby wearing and sensory play. She shared my excitement when I became pregnant the first time, my sorrow when I miscarried; she told me that I would be a mother someday and that, when I was, I would be a wonderful one.

These mothers of my past were generous with their experiences and their advice. The bits and pieces that they shared offered me glimpses into what motherhood might look like for me.

After my son was born, my awe for these women grew.

Motherhood is just so much. It is as wonderful and as difficult they had described, but it has an intensity I did not anticipate. I found myself wanting deeply to reach out to all of them, to thank them for their words and for their example and to tell them that I finally understood, that I was one of them now.

If I could talk with these mothers now I would share that, to me, parenthood is joy and sacrifice, that I don’t think my career is ruined, and that love came slowly and all at once. I’d tell them that I married a man who gets up at night to let me sleep and that dropping my newborn at the sitter when I returned to work really was so, so hard. I would tell them that sometimes the worry is overwhelming, that I understood now how plastic and pollution and missed school forms can be so scary. I would tell these mothers that I’m glad I had my son while I am young that I nursed him until he was 16-months-old and that I still wear him any chance I get. I want these women to know that my motherhood, while not identical to any of theirs, has been shaped by their example and that, without their words and thoughts and model, my experience would have been so much more difficult.

Last summer I joined a pool in my new hometown. I enrolled my son in swimming lessons and took great joy in watching him giggle as he realized that his feet could create a splash, his hands a ripple. My boy loves the water and is happy to be pushed, submerged, from his father’s arms to mine. One afternoon, when class was over, the teenager teaching lessons asked if she could hold my son. She gushed over his curls and laughed when he smiled at her. We talked about where she wants to go to college and what she wants to be when she graduates. She told me that she wants to be a mom someday, when she’s a lot older, and asked me what it’s really like, being a mother.

I had a lot to tell her.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda


When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia


Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat


This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)


Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat


Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)


Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)


Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat


Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat


With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)


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

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"


Eva Mendes Admits Parenting Two Girls With Ryan Gosling Is 'Fun, Beautiful And Maddening' www.youtube.com

And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.


When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."



She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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