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Please stop judging me for leaving the office at exactly 5 pm because my kids are waiting to be picked up from the sitter. I know I'm missing this meeting, but my 4-year-old's preschool graduation is more important. I have to be there to see his face light up when he spots me in the crowd. I know I was late today, but I can't drop the baby off at daycare until 7:45 am. I know that I seem distracted, because I am distracted. I have a sick toddler and I am waiting to find out when I can get him into the pediatrician.

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Trust me, I don't want to look exhausted when I show up to the office, but I have been awake since 4:30 am with an inconsolable kid. I know that my eyes look glazed over, but I spent the last 12 hours trying to soothe a baby to sleep. I didn't mean for my email to seem snippy, but I have a 5-year old that cried this morning because he didn't want to go to school, and I am worried about him.

Yes, I just banged my head against my desk. Yes, I know that seems a bit dramatic but I received a text message that my kid has pink eye and I have to leave to get him. Now. Even though this report is almost due. I know my eyes are very swollen and bloodshot. I spent last night crying because I am exhausted, never get to be alone and haven't taken a hot shower in five years. Sorry that I was short with you, but I spent the last hour arguing with a toddler over the necessity of wearing pants to the babysitter.

I know I am supposed to leave my personal life at the door when I come to the office, but when you are a mom to two small kids, that is hard to do. So thank you to everyone that has given me grace over the last five years. Lord knows I could probably stand to give myself a little. Being a full-time working mom with young kids is not easy.

So, thank you to every boss that has let me leave for doctor's appointments, unexpected sicknesses, preschool graduations, school lunches and speech therapy.

Thank you to all the people that turned their head when I was pregnant and had to run out of a meeting to go puke. Thank you to everyone that has let me know they also had a hard time juggling their work/life/kid balance. That means more to me than you probably realize.

Thank you to the people that ignored my swollen eyes, exhausted face and the spit-up on my blouse.

Thank you to all the other moms that slay it each and every day and motivate me to keep going.

Thank you to the people that encourage me to keep on keeping on even though I can feel defeated at times.

Thank you to all the co-workers that have picked up slack for me because I had to make a quick exit to solve a kid emergency.

I know that I am not the only working mom in the world, but I am a working mom and I totally understand what other working moms are going through.

I understand that you feel like you need to overcompensate because you get to work just on time—or a little late—and leave the minute the clock strikes five.

I understand when you eat your lunch at your desk because you have to leave early to get a kid from the sitter to the doctor then back to the sitter and then get yourself back to the office in time for your 2 pm meeting.

I understand that sometimes you show up to work looking like you were attacked by a flock of geese because the kids couldn't find their shoes, you gave someone the wrong color bowl and then forgot to take Sleepy Bear to the babysitter.

I understand that you are tired. Exhausted probably.

But I also understand that you are capable and worthy of so much more than you realize sometimes. You don't have to choose between two worlds that you love. You can have them both. You can have a family and a career. It's not easy, but it is possible. Yes, your worlds might collide sometimes and make life much more complicated, but it's worth it. So don't stop. Don't give up. You've got this.

And P.S. - Not everyone is going to understand. And that's okay.

[This article was previously published here]

You are rocking this new-baby learning curve, mama! Even if you never changed a diaper pre-parenthood, you can probably now do that with one hand, in the dark and still half asleep.

While these early days can feel like you're just going through the motions of feedings and diaper changes, take heart, mama: You and baby are developing a strong, special bond—as those early smiles go to show. (Did you have to pick your heart up off the floor when your baby cracked a grin for the first time?)

As your baby continues to adjust to life outside the womb, you might start feeling more confident with this new chapter in life, too. Making the transition to "mama" for the first time is full of sweet moments, and you really should take heart that you are doing an incredible job.

As you continue to adapt to parenthood, here are some of the items we swear by (for you and baby) for the 2-month mark:

To introduce nursery naptime: Infant Optics video baby monitor

baby monitor

You know that nursery you designed and decorated during pregnancy? It's probably been sitting unused while baby is bunked up in your bedroom per the AAP's recommendation. If you're now ready to put them down for naps in their nursery crib, a good video monitor can help ease your mind.

$165.99

To free up your hands: Infantino 4-in-1 carrier

baby carrier

As you and your little buddy get into a comfortable rhythm, a carrier that is also comfortable for you both is priceless. We love carriers that allow babies to face inward for snuggling and snoozing while you take care of things around the house, or outward as they get older and want to observe.

$29.99

To take on tummy time sessions: Fisher Price play dome

Fisher price on the go dome

Now that your baby is awake for longer stretches of time, a colorful and comfortable play space is a must-have. Make it even more fun by getting down on baby's level to serve as a cheerleader during tummy time sessions!

$59.99

To look and learn: High-Contrast Books Cluck and Moo

baby books

During the first three months of life, infants have an easier time focusing on shades of black or white and can only see a few inches beyond their faces. That makes a high-contrast book that you can read with them a perfect source of visual stimulation.

To soothe with lullabies: Hatch Rest sound machine

Hatch Rest

It's no coincidence your little one drifts off to sleep better when there is some soothing background noise. After all, they spent months and months listening to ambient noise in the womb!

$59.99

To keep it comfy + stylish: Ingrid + Isabel postpartum leggings

postpartum leggings

Simply put, high-waisted leggings are a gift to postpartum mamas during that limbo period when maternity clothes are too loose and pre-pregnancy clothes aren't quite right. We are so grateful to live in an era when leggings are considered stylish, no matter how long you choose to wear them.

$34.99

To help the nursing mama’s wardrobe: Ingrid + Isabel nursing tanks

nursing tanks

For breastfeeding mamas, feeding baby requires some easy access to the milk supply. Our pro tip is to stock up on nursing-friendly tanks and tops so you can feed your baby without halfway undressing.

$24.99

To get a sharable diaper bag: Eddie Bauer backpack

backpack

Where baby goes, so too should supplies—even if it's just a neighborhood stroll. We're partial to backpacks that are roomy and comfortable to carry.

$64.99

To give yourself a little TLC: Honest Mama soaking salts

honest mama

Put an at-home spa session on your schedule, mama. Draw a bath, add some aromatic soaking salts and an eye mask—and enjoy this important moment of self-care.

$14.99

To put a little pep in your step: A New Day sneakers

new day sneakers

When life means constantly balancing all the things, slide-on sneakers are both practical and super cute. We'll take a pair in each color!

$24.99

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

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How often do we see a "misbehaving" child and think to ourselves, that kid needs more discipline? How often do we look at our own misbehaving child and think the same thing?

Our society is conditioned to believe that we have to be strict and stern with our kids, or threaten, shame or punish them into behaving. This authoritarian style of parenting is characterized by high expectations and low responsiveness—a tough love approach.

But while this type of authoritarian parenting may elicit "obedient" kids in the short-term, studies suggest that children who are shamed or punished in the name of discipline face challenges in the long-term. Research suggests that children who are harshly disciplined or shamed tend to be less happy, less independent, less confident, less resilient, more aggressive and hostile, more fearful and at higher risk for substance abuse and mental health issues as adults and adolescents.

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The reason? No one ever changes from being shamed.

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