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A healthy baby.

Isn't that what we all want? It's a common response to the question every expecting mother gets asked: Do you want a boy or a girl?

"It doesn't matter as long as the baby is healthy."

But what if that doesn't happen? What if something doesn't go quite right?

I'll admit that sentence came out of my mouth when I was pregnant with both boys. I didn't care if it was a boy or girl as long as the baby was healthy and could thrive. While our first was born by emergency C-section, after a little while they handed me a "perfectly healthy baby." We were thrilled, what a relief! And then along came our tiny fighter.

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He wasn't and isn't healthy. He falls under the 'not healthy' category. Your child may fall under that as well.

What if instead of newborn cuddles you got a photo to look at while your baby is fighting for their life?

What if instead of that beautifully planned out sibling meet, they "meet" over FaceTime?

What if instead of hearing their sweet, peaceful breathing and see that sweet gassy smile you hear monitors, nurses, doctors and see tubes, wires, and machines?

When we throw that sentence around, it makes it seem that unhealthy babies and children are worth less, aren't as special, harder to love.

They are still loved.

They are still valuable.

They are still beautiful.

They are still precious.

You are their mom/dad, and for a reason. They are not defective, they're different and different is okay.

No, they're not a burden.

Their little heart may be broken, but that broken heart will fill yours with more than you ever imagined was possible.

They can give hope to someone who is looking for a miracle.

They may make a medical staff's day, brighten up the dark hospital room.

No one asks for "not healthy" but sometimes that's the card that gets played. We all want "healthy." Truth is, we can't all have that. A lot of us will have babies that fight, struggle and teach us more about life than we thought we could learn from such a small person.

Some children will fight, win and thrive. Some will fight for a long time and their struggle will be more long term. Some will fight and unfortunately, lose their battle.

But trust me, those kids are loved.

Having a healthy baby is not everything. It's something, it's important and we all want our children to be healthy. There's nothing wrong with longing for a healthy baby. It's our natural instinct. No one is saying that when that sentence leaves our mouth it means you won't love this child if they're not healthy.

But just remember, next time you say, "As long as the baby is healthy" ask yourself, "What if the baby is not?"

This article was previously published here.

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Babywearing allows newborns to be held close to your body and mama to snuggle with their new bundle of joy—but that's just where the benefits begin. When you're toting your baby with the help of a specially-designed carrier, you're also given back the two hands normally reserved for rocking, cuddling and soothing your little one. That opens up a whole new world when it comes to getting things done—particularly for #mombosses who are masters of multitasking.

We asked four of our favorites about the biggest benefits of their productivity hack of choice (babywearing) and how they got it all done using their carrier of choice, BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Free.

It helps soothe babies more easily

Daphne Oz wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

Babies benefit from being in a carrier not only because worn babies cry less but also because a soothed baby means they're more likely to catch a much-needed nap. Rachel Zeilic, VP of Influencer Marketing at Who What Wear and Creative Director for fashion line Marjoelle, wore her son, August, in his early days for that reason. "It was a GREAT method to help him get to sleep," she says.

Sleep aside, decreased crying makes a huge difference in your busy days, even if your baby is super easygoing and loves carrier time, like that of Emmy-winning TV host, author and mama of four, Daphne Oz, whose youngest, Giovanna Ines (Gigi), is 4-months-old. "Gigi has always loved to be held. She's a very big baby, so babywearing is essential to give my arms a break. She loves to be snuggled as much as possible, and you can tell [being in her carrier] immediately soothes her. Sometimes she'll drift off or just rest her head on my chest and gaze around."

Mobilizing is a snap

Rachel Zeilic wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

Like so many mamas, Zeilic needed to get out of the house frequently in those first few weeks for doctor appointments, but she found the sheer magnitude of getting out and getting the hang of a stroller pretty intimidating. Instead, she relied on her Baby Carrier Free and was out and about quickly after delivery. "We left the house from day one and we made a point every day of walking around the neighborhood," she says. "It was much more feasible [for me] than putting him in the stroller and going for a long walk."

Ariel Kaye, the CEO and founder of Parachute, was a big fan of babywearing with her now 11-month-old daughter Lou for the same reason. "Especially as I started to get more comfortable getting out of the house, what started as really short walks and gradually got longer," she says.

Carriers are especially friendly for city-dwelling mamas

Ranji Jacques wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

Having a baby while living in a big city can be a challenge, but babywearing makes going about your day so much more simple. That's how Ranji Jacques, Fashion Director at Condé Nast, gets around New York City. "Everyone can agree that a baby carrier is a must-have, especially if you're in an urban area," says the mom of two to 3-year-old Diego and 1-year-old Lucienne. Why? Because steep curbs and storefront steps no longer pose a deterrent, and (bonus!) you can keep germ-covered surfaces out of baby's reach.

Take meetings with baby in tow

Rachel Zeilic wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

If you need to phone into the office or are a permanent part of the growing work-from-home mama population, strapping on baby allows you to talk shop and spend time with your little one. "I've honestly gotten so many conference calls and deals done with August in the carrier," says Zeilic.

So did Kaye, who would tote her daughter Lou in her BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Free on walks to Parachute's nearby brick-and-mortar store as not only a way of getting outside, but also checking in with work, too.

Tackle housework + make  errands easier (and feasible)

Daphne Oz wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

When you've got a new baby at home, getting the dishes done or folding a basket of (clean!) laundry is a huge accomplishment. But using the carrier can help you tick off your to-do list while spending time with your newborn. "Babywearing really helped me—like it made all of my everyday [tasks] so much easier," says Kaye, because it gave her back her much-needed set of hands.

Oz agrees that wearing her daughter has been a boon to her productivity. "I try to bring Gigi along whenever I can, since my time at home can be limited and [I'm] often stretched thin trying to get everything in order. She comes along to the market and for coffee and on other errands—and I love to use a carrier in the house so I can keep her with me while I'm heading from room to room putting things in order."

It can provide for everyday teaching moments

Ariel Kaye wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

When you're going about your daily tasks, babywearing provides a front row seat to turn it into an educational experience for the two of you. "It's a special way to be able to communicate with her—I can show her things, touch things," says Kaye. From folding laundry to self-care, opportunities to engage baby can happen anywhere. Just ask Lou, who loves watching mama Ariel do her makeup while happily hanging out in her BABYBJÖRN, a task enjoyed by Gigi and Daphne as well.

Plus, allotting some of your attention to quickie tasks feels more guilt-free when babywearing. "Even though I'm doing other stuff, I can talk to him and narrate what I'm doing," explains Zeilic. "I just feel like it's playing and bonding, versus feeling like I'm sacrificing time with him."

Hello, old favorite activities

Ariel Kaye wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

Zeilic and her husband love to use their Baby Carrier Free for hikes—anything under an hour and she'll strap on the carrier, over an hour and Dad's on the job (good thing it's easily adjustable for parents of all sizes). Even if hiking isn't your hobby of choice, resuming your pre-baby favorite activities and feeling more like yourself post-baby is a welcome change to which most mamas can relate, Oz included.

She fondly remembers the sense of confidence and familiarity that accompanied a babywearing outing when her eldest children were a bit younger. "My first, Philomena, was only 20 months old when John was born and still such a baby herself. I remember going out to the beach on a calm day with Philomena to collect shells, and John was strapped next to my chest, snuggly and content. It was one of the first times I really felt confident as a new mother of 2."

You can travel light

Ranji Jacques wearing BABYBJ\u00d6RN Baby Carrier Free

BABYBJÖRN

Working in fashion, Jacques has a tendency to be flanked with a host of accessories or at least a go-to purse, but babywearing has helped her limit the amount she has in tow when out and about. "I strap on baby, grab a bottle of water and my wallet and I'm ready to go," she says. Minimalist multitasking has never been so chic.

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

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If you're visiting a new mama, it's customary to bring a little something to celebrate. This person just went through a monumental, life-changing event and most people focus on bringing stuff for the new baby, who has no idea what has happened—they just want all the snuggles and food. But we say to go ahead and celebrate mama. You can bring flowers or her favorite dish from that restaurant she loves, a little note with a gift card—it doesn't have to be expensive or shiny, just something that shows you care about them.

If you need ideas, Frida Baby, the brand that creates those super useful tools (looking at you, nose-sucker) has you covered.

This Frida balloon was just launched by the company and it's funny, real and will most definitely make any new mama feel seen.

Check it out:

It's a Mom balloon

It\u2019s A Mom Balloon

Everyone is likely familiar with the traditional "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" balloon that every hospital store sells, but it's time to celebrate moms with this "it's a mom" balloon. Sure, it's funny, but also super real. Also, keep in mind that this ships flat so be prepared with some helium to make it float.

$6.99

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My favorite part of the day, hands down, is when my freshly bathed son is all snuggly in his PJs and he's about to sit down in my lap to tuck into a good book before bed. My least favorite part, though, is when he goes to his bookcase and grabs the same book we read earlier that day and the night before (and the night before that). I almost always say, "That one? But do you want to try something new?" (Spoiler: He doesn't.)

So I take a deep breath and remind myself about the research that says reading the same book to your kids over and over helps their brain development. And I dive into the world of Pete the Cat or Piggy and Gerald, and before we know it I'm wrapped up in the magic of that world, too.

We recently asked #TeamMotherly to share the books their kids want to read over and over (and over) and you didn't disappoint. Here's what you're reading (or, more likely, have already memorized):

What the Ladybird Heard

What Ladybird Heard

Kim says: "He's not even two yet and has it memorized!"

$9.31

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

Danielle says: "These are at least twice daily for weeks. More if they're kept downstairs!"

$11.15

Aliens Love Underpants

Aliens Love Underpants

Hope shares: "After two years of constant reading pages are missing and/or torn but he still keeps going to them."

$10.83

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Nelly shares: "When I went to the hospital to have my daughter, my sister and brother-in-law watched my two boys. She FaceTimed me because they were crying and upset. They wanted mommy to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom because Auntie Cj wasn't doing it right.

"I cried as I recited Chicka Chicka boom boom from my hospital bed. I wanted so badly to be there to hug them and read it in person. They were really missing their mommy and were worried about the doctor cutting open my belly to get the baby out. I recited it all from memory of course. I cried. My sister cried. And my boys finally stopped crying. 🤣

"I went home two nights later and read it to them, never more happy to read the same book for the 315th time. ❤️"

$5.00

Pig the Pug (and the rest of the series)

Pig the Pug

Michelle says: "We have them all and I swear he knows them word for word."

$10.78

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes

Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes

Tara says: "Anything Pete the Cat and especially 'I Love My White Shoes'!"

$10.35

Good Night Good Night Construction Site

Good Night Good Night Construction Site

Nanako says: "Read it so many times I can recite the whole book!"

$5.00

I Love You Night and Day

I Love You Night and Day

Samantha says: "I have read this book to my son at bedtime since I was pregnant and he's 7.5 months. His eyes light up and he gets the biggest grin and laughs now when I show it to him. ❤️ It's one of my favorite special times with him."

$5.00

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Stefania shares: "My 3yo loves the book, the song, the movie and even the Bear Hunt yoga for a year. Needless to say, her 3rd birthday will be themed ...you guessed it 🐻🤪"

$5.00

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos

Neveen says: "My 1.5 yo loves [it]."

$10.96

Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups

Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups

Rainy says: "Just had to hide [this book] bc we've been reading it on repeat (sometimes 4-5x in a row) lately."

$10.86

Home Sweet Home: a Lift-the-Flap Book

Home Sweet Home Lift the Flap Book

Pegah shares: "I can read it page by page without even looking at it. Pointless to read bc my impatient LO just goes to the flap lifting before I can finish a sentence 🤣🤣🤣"

$6.99

Never Touch a Dragon (and the rest of the “Never Touch” series)

Never Touch a Dragon

Lindsay says: "He doesn't like to sit long enough to read unless there's hands-on stuff involved 😂"

$5.74

The Bear Snores On

Mira shares: "Every time, over and over…"

$7.49

The Monster at the End of This Book

The Monster at the End of this Book

Rebecca says: "It's so much fun to read as a parent too."

$4.99

The Little Blue Truck (and the rest of the series)

The Little Blue Truck

Kate says: "I have the Halloween one memorized haha."

$5.00

Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See

Kristina says, "My 2-year-old can recite it from memory because we read it so much! It's a game now when we aren't even reading it. 'What did the teacher see?' 😂"

$5.79

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Beejal says: "My 18-month-old daughter especially likes the page with all the food. It's so cute to hear her trying to say what each item is."

$5.76

Good Night Moon

Good Night Moon

Charliena shares: "We have to read [it] every night…"

$5.00

The Wonky Donkey

The Wonky Donkey

Leann says: "My little one is just altogether a fan of reading already..." (And check out this hilarious viral video of a grandma reading it to her grandchild.)

$4.99

May I Please Have a Cookie?

May I Please Have a Cookie?

Monika shares: "[It's] my daughter's fav book."

$4.99

10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes

10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes

Shawn says: "It's so sweet to count your LO's fingers and toes and give three kisses at the end 😊"

$6.89

Stick Man

Stick Man

Rosemary shares: " She loves all of [Julia Donaldson's] books. We have most of them!"

$10.49

Clifford’s Bedtime Story Box

Clifford's Bedtime Story Box

Thais says: "It has been almost six months of big red dog every single night. Thankfully, there's more than one book about Clifford."

$9.85

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Janet says: "I guess it was so easy to relate to!!!" 😂

$7.29


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One cool thing about starting a new year is the newfound energy to declutter all the things. We know we're not alone with our urges to redecorate and restyle our entire home. Now is the perfect time to find places for all your kids' toys and books.

Honestly, why didn't anyone tell us that along with having kids, you'd also acquire SO. MUCH. STUFF?! Tackling your kids' clutter is no easy feat. That's why we're big fans of toy minimalism whenever possible, but sometimes you just need a place to hide the blocks and all of those teeny, tiny figurines.

We hear you. Here are 10 of our favorite stylish storage solutions to help you get organized in no time, mama:

Pillowfort low profile bookcase

Pillowfort low profile bookcase

We are swooning over the simple, modern look of this low-profile bookcase. It features three cubbies, which is just the right size for books and toys. It also stands at 20" tall—just the right height for easy access for little hands.

$64.99

The Heartland Wood Co rustic ledge shelf

The Heartland Wood Co Rustic Ledge Shelf

These custom, handmade wall shelves add the perfect touch of Joanna Gaines to any space. And they're also a great way to maximize space by getting books off the floor and onto the wall.

$29

Pehr designs pom pom bin

Pehr designs pom pom bin

I dare you to not love these pom pom bins. Sewn by hand, these cotton canvas bins come in a huge variety of colors and sizes, and add just the right amount of whimsy to your nursery or playroom.

$20

Ikea flisat book display

 FLISAT Book display

The minimalist, simple style of this book display will compliment (and declutter) any reading nook. The low profile will encourage your little ones to help themselves to their favorite story.

$19.99

Pillowfort wood toy storage

Pillowfort wood toy storage

Stackable shelving is one of our favorite organization hacks; bins customize perfectly to any space, making it easy to go as high or as wide as you need. These natural wood bins are some of our favorites both for their look and their function.

$19.99

Wayfair palm leaf basket

Wayfair Palm Leaf Basket

If you have to organize your life, you may as well have fun while doing it! We love the combo of natural elements and a pop of color that these woven baskets bring to any space. They even collapse when not in use.

$39.33

Crate&Kids mid-century bookcase

Crate&Kids mid-century bookcase

Is it weird that we want this bookcase for our room? Function meets (gorgeous, modern) style here big time with this gorgeous walnut and white storage solution. It's a bit of an investment, but like we said, we may just steal it when our kids no longer need it.

$299

Ikea trofast storage

Ikea Trofast storage

As if we need another reason to love IKEA. This customizable storage solution works for just about anything that needs organizing, from toys, books to shoes and stuffed animals.

You can choose your own finish, bin sizes, and bin colors, making it just the right fit for any space.

$80.99

Babyletto spruce tree bookcase

Babyletto Spruce Tree Bookcase

We can't think of a more charming, playful way to display your child's book collection. This book "tree" holds 12-15 books on each branch and secures to any wall in the house, making showing off your library not only fun, but practical, too.

$179.99

ZCreateDesign cloud shelf

ZCreateDesign  cloud shelf

Look to the sky—not under your feet—for all your little one's toys and knick-knacks. These handmade cloud shelves could not be cuter!

$27.80

Pottery barn kids elephant storage

Elephant Shaped Storage

Little ones can house small toys and books in this cute elephant-shaped basket. We love that it's a perfect size that won't accumulate too many items, which can hide its unique shape. Seriously, storage has never been sweeter.

$168.00

ECR4Kids storage cabinet

ECR4Kids storage cabinet

Truth is, you can't lose when it comes to having clear storage bins. They're great for housing things kids (and even you, mama!) often forget. This unit also includes four heavy-duty mobile casters that can be installed for effortless mobility. We're sold!

$169.00

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I remember so vividly the moment I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, my first child. I spent hours daydreaming about what this whole new world was going to be like, researched everything, planned everything (or at least, I tried to), and set out to be the absolute most ideal mother I could be.

Then I had another kid. And in an unexpected plot twist, another one after that.

And now motherhood looks pretty different than it did when I first started.

I have evolved as a mom so much—partly out of necessity, partly out of desire. When I reflect on "new mom" me, I am so grateful for everything that she did and learned. But I'll be honest; I think I prefer "seasoned mom of three" me more.

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Life is louder, busier and messier, but despite that, I am somehow calmer and more confident.

I do not have it figured out by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some big lessons I've learned along the way.

Here are 10 things I did with my first kid that I definitely don't do with my third:

1. Trust Google more than myself

When my daughter was born, I Googled ev-er-y-thing. Everything. All the time. Every day. Google.

I really appreciate what I found: articles, studies and expertise put out into the ether to help me be the best parent I could be. But it got overwhelming, and it began to fuel some anxiety. For every study I read that proclaimed one finding, there was another study that stated the exact opposite. I found mountains of articles that said THIS is THE way to fix [fill in the blank] problem—each with a very different solution.

While reading varying ideas and opinions can be helpful, it made me start to lose touch with my own maternal knowing. My head was filled with so much noise that I couldn't pay attention to the one voice I needed to hear—my own.

So, I stopped. Now when something (non-emergent) is going on with my kids, I check in with myself first. I spend time just thinking about what's going on. Then, I take the questions that come up to the internet or my pediatrician. Nine times out of ten, what I find is confirmation that my initial intuition was pretty close.

2. Stress about milestones

Every time my firstborn reached a new week or month, I went (once again) to Google to investigate which milestones to expect. I even found (and visited often) a website that shared which milestones were typical and which were "advanced" for her given age. In truth, I was a little bit obsessed.

I don't think this is bad. I was a new mom wanting to make sure my child was developing healthily, and I was proud of her every time she reached a new milestone (still am).

But it was stressful.

Now I rely heavily on my pediatrician and sprinkle in some occasional research. We go to our well-visits and the pediatrician checks in about milestones, and if I have a concern, I do my own research. But I've learned that children develop on their own timetable, and in different ways. My firstborn spoke way sooner than my middle, my middle walked way before my third, and my third slept through the night way before his older siblings—and that's all okay.

One more thing: My youngest did not hit all of his milestones. He had some gross-motor skill delays that turned out to be caused by an underlying medical condition. And you know what I learned? It was okay. We discovered the delays when we needed to, we addressed them, and with the help of ever-advancing services and research, he is doing great.

I think with my first I had this idea that if I worried about the milestones enough, we'd hit them. Turns out worry does not help much there. To new mom me I wish I could say, "Be on the lookout, yes. But don't worry. What will be, will be, and if there is something you need to address, trust that you will be able to."

3. Sanitize everything

I was the mom continually wiping down the table, the shopping cart, the baby's hands, my hands, and everything else I could think of that might have a germ on it.

And now? Yeah, I just… don't.

They are going to be exposed to germs—a lot of them. I try to keep them from licking the doorknobs at the doctor's office, and they know that the "five-second rule" only applies to the food we drop on the floor at home, but I've realized that it's just too hard to keep every germ off of them. (And, for the record, maybe not the best idea—turns out that letting kids get dirty has some pretty awesome health benefits.)

So now, I make them wash their hands when they get home, and before they eat, I give them baths (every few days), and try not to freak out when I realize the "crumbs" around their mouths are from dirt and not cookies.

4. Buy #allthethings

Oh, the number of adorable outfits that I have passed down to friends that still have the tags on them. Sigh. I bought my firstborn so much stuff. It was all so cute, and such a thrill to buy! And unfortunately, also so expensive.

Now with my third, I get a thrill from finding deals or from getting a bag of hand-me-downs from a neighbor. I still do buy them stuff, I'm just more selective, and have a better understanding of what works for our family. White t-shirt? Nope! Toy with 1,000 little plastic pieces? Sorry, love.

Matching family pajamas? Yes. All the time.

5. Sweat the small stuff

It took me longer than I like to admit to learn that perfection is unattainable—in life, and certainly in parenthood. I used to get consumed by the "small" stuff (though to be fair, I didn't realize it was small then—it takes time to figure out what's small, and what's big).

Forgetting to order favors for the birthday party? Small.

A kid breaking a full bowl of cereal and milk two minutes before we need to leave for school? Small.

A little misunderstanding and disagreement with my husband? Small.

My husband often says, "You know what? If a [broken bowl] is the worst part of my day, I've had a pretty good day." And he is so right. I am sad to say that I know enough families who would kill to have a broken bowl or a little disagreement be the worst part of their day. So I try not to sweat it.

6. Clean

Kidding, not kidding. I clean. Just...not as much.

When people ask what it's like to have three children, I often share that there is a lot of freedom that comes from knowing that things are just going to be a little chaotic and messy. With my first, I tried hard to keep the house in order (and stressed when it wasn't). Now, I realize it's just not going to happen. Don't get me wrong; I still prefer to have the house clean and organized. It's just that now when it's not, I am not as hard on myself as I used to be.

"You have three kids. It's okay. Go to sleep and worry about the dishes in the morning."

7. Over-commit

Three kids and two parents means that we are officially outnumbered. And that means we say no to a lot.

Often, saying yes is simply impossible—we can't be in three places at one time, so we constantly need to choose which activities we can do, and which we have to pass on. I've also learned that when we say yes to too much, we all suffer. My kids get tired and grumpy, and um… their mom does too.

So, we try to be very intentional with our calendar. We spend time thinking and talking about what we need to do, what makes us happy to do, and what we can feel okay with letting go of.

8. Take everything personally

When my daughter was about one, I took her to her first music class. I won't bore you with the whole story, but over the course of the class the teacher had to say to my child, "Maracas are for shaking, not for throwing," and "We don't sit on baby's heads, please."

I remember vividly saying, through tears, to my husband, "I don't know why I couldn't control her! I'm such a bad mom."

Now I think about that story and I laugh and laugh and laugh (sorry, music teacher and baby whose head my daughter sat on). I've learned that the moment-to-moment actions of a child are so rarely a reflection of my parenting, and almost always a reflection of them simply being a child.

Yes, of course, it is my job to guide them, teach them, and tell them to stop throwing maracas, but not every misdeed is my fault. They are kids, and it's okay to let them be little—and to not take it personally.

9. Forego self-care

One of the reasons I have focused so much of my career promoting the importance of self-care in motherhood is because I was terrible at it when I first became a mother. I felt guilty, I felt selfish, and I didn't really even understand what self-care meant.

And I suffered because of it. I was anxious, unhealthy, and at times, unhappy. None of that is okay.

So I have learned to prioritize self-care, even if getting here has felt uncomfortable and, at times, forced.

I now know what I need to be at my best: I need sleep, I need a fair amount of quiet alone time, and I need to get out in nature at least once or twice a week. So I make a point of scheduling those times in.

And you know what? My kids don't hate me for it. They get a mom who is happier and healthier, and therefore more present and peaceful. I also believe that it's a gift to have a mother who says things like, "I am going to take care of myself for a few minutes," because they will eventually embody those words and learn that it's okay to take care of themselves, too.

10. Take the little things for granted

When my daughter was little, I worked hard to create magic. I planned special trips and events to create memories that would last a lifetime.

Can I tell you something? I don't remember any of them.

Here's what I do remember: The time my daughter got into the flour and beamed with pride at the "art" she made with her handprints all over the floor. The time my middle son turned to me while we were trick-or-treating and said, "Mom, is this my real life or just a great, long dream?" The way my youngest hogs my pillow when he climbs into bed with me in the morning.

I can make plans for us, but the magic comes from the moments when I least expect it. So, I've learned to open myself up to those moments. To unbusy myself enough to be able to notice the little things.

I've learned that the little things are actually the big things.

Life
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