When I look in my child’s eyes at drop off I don’t want to imagine it might be the last time

After the shooting in Florida is it finally time to ask ourselves—are we failing our children?

When I look in my child’s eyes at drop off I don’t want to imagine it might be the last time

When I dreamed about becoming a mom, I could imagine so many of the moments I would have with my children—holding their tiny bodies on my chest for the first time after they were born. Scooping them up every time they teetered and fell while learning how to walk. Gently stroking their cheeks as they lay in bed and drifted to sleep.

What I could never in a million years have imagined would be that every day as I send my children off to school, I have to wonder if I will see them again.

And yet.

Every morning I have to steel myself for the moment when I grab them, squeeze them a little too tightly and a little longer than they would like, and say silently in my head, “Please, God. Please.”

In 2017 there were 348 mass shooting in the United States.

I woke up to these messages filling my social media feeds, today:

"Hug your kids tighter today."

"Love them hard."

"Tell your family you love them."

I appreciate the sentiments. But you know what?

I hug my kids tightly every day.

I love them hard all the time.

My family knows how much I love them.

I don't need to do that extra today.

Which is good, because right now I can't even look at my kids.

I can't look at them because I am ashamed. Children need so little from us. They need to feel loved. They need to eat. They need to play. And they need to be safe. That's it.

And we're failing.

Yes, I make Christmas magical for them. Yes, I try to find new and creative ways to get them to eat veggies. I take them to the doctor, and play outside with them, and cuddle them, and try to be "present."

But am I keeping them safe? No, I am not. Every time this happens we cry, we speak up—and then we stop, and just wait for it to happen again.

My children look at me full of love and trust, and I have to turn my gaze. We are not doing our job, and I am so ashamed.

I can't look at my children right now because right now there are hundreds of mothers who literally can't look at their babies because their babies have been killed in a mass shooting.

Mothers who watched their bellies grow with those babies, or watched their hands shake as they signed the adoption papers.

Mothers who cheered for every milestone. Who agonized over every fever. Who lay awake at night worrying about their babies. Mothers who were brought to tears by the magnitude of their babies' beauty.

Mothers just like me, who loved—love—their babies with every fiber of their being and have to wake up every single morning and figure out how they are going to survive because the actual oxygen has been stolen from their lungs.

My children wrap their arms around my neck, and I can't breathe imagining the pain of those mothers.

I can't look at my children right now because the thought that it could be the last time I get to look at them is more than I can bear. This is what it feels like at every school drop-off, lately, but even more so today in the aftermath of the Florida shooting.

Once I would have comforted myself with statistics and odds—that luxury is gone.

The statistics are unacceptable and unfathomable—and our reality.

I can't look at my children right now because I don't know if it's okay for them to see me like this. Is it okay for my kids to see me sob? Is it bad for them to see me enraged?

I am terrified right now—shaking, on the verge of throwing up—and I don't think they need to see that.

So if I can't look at my children—my lifeblood, my everything—right now, where do I look?

I can start by looking in the mirror. I can face the fact that every time I haven't sent that letter to the senator, every time I just logged off instead of engaging in a controversial discussion, every time I said, "That's so awful," and then did nothing—it's my responsibility.

I can do better, and I will.

I can look at my fellow parents and ask them what we are going to do to make this better? I can support them and ask to be supported by them, as we crusade to fix this.

I can look at our elected officials and demand to be heard. I can be unpopular or downright disliked if that's what it takes. But I will be a voice, not an echo. (Psst: find and contact your elected officials here.)

I will look to all these people today so that tomorrow—if I am given tomorrow—I will be able to look at my kids and tell them, "Babies, I promise I am trying."

These new arrivals from the Motherly Shop are *so* good you need them all

Noodle and Boo, Mushie and Plan Toys—everything you need, mama.

Motherhood is hard work—finding great products and brands to make the journey easier doesn't have to be. Each week, we stock the Motherly Shop with brilliant new products we know you'll need and love from brands and makers that really care.

So, what's new this week?

Noodle and Boo: Holistic baby skin care

Through working with chemists who specialize in natural and holistic skin care, Noodle and Boo has developed exclusive formulas that nourish, replenish and protect especially delicate, eczema-prone and sensitive skin—including laundry detergent. Their signature, obsession-worthy scent—which is subtly sweet, pure and fresh—is the closest thing to bottling up "baby smell" we've ever found.

Mushie: Kids' dinnerware that actually looks great

We're totally crushing on Mushie's minimalist dinnerware for kids. Their innovative baby and toddler products leverage Swedish design to marry both form and function while putting safety front and center. Everything is created in soft, muted colors from BPA-free materials.

Plan Toys: Open-ended toys that last

Corralling and cleaning up the toys becomes less stressful when you bring home fewer, better, more beautiful ones. Plan Toys checks all the boxes. Made from re-purposed rubber wood, they're better for the planet as well.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

Mushie silicone baby bib

Mushie silicone baby bib

There's no going back to cloth bibs after falling in love with this Swedish design. The pocket catches whatever misses their mouths and the BPA-free silicone is waterproof and easy to wipe down between uses.


Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

Mushie kids' square dinnerware plate set

We're totally crushing on the soft muted colors that flow with our table aesthetics and the thoughtful high-sided design that helps babies and toddler who are learning to feed themselves.


Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Noodle and Boo nursery essentials kit

Stocked with everything a new mama needs to care for her little one's delicate skin, Noodle and Boo's nursery essentials gift set is the perfect way to create a holistic and natural skin care routine from day one.


Plan Toys doctor set 

Plan Toys doctor set

Ideal for quiet time and imaginative role play, we love the gorgeous planet-friendly doctor kit from Plan Toys. The rubber wood stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, thermometer, syringe and reflex hammer pack up neat and tidy into the red cotton case should they need to dash off on a rescue mission.


Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Noodle and Boo instant hand sanitizer

Since we're buying and using hand sanitizer by the truckload these days, we're thrilled Noodle and Boo has made one we can feel good about using on little ones who cram their hands in their mouths 24/7. Not only does it kill 99.9% of germs, but it also leaves hands moisturized as well.


Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

Plan Toys natural wooden blocks set

A toy box isn't complete without a set of blocks—and this set is one of our new favorites. The sustainable, re-purposed wood is eco-friendly, comes at a relatively affordable price point and are certain to last well beyond multiple kids, hand-me-downs and even generations.


Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Noodle and Boo family fun pack cleansing set

Because their products were developed for delicate and eczema-prone skin, Noodle and Boo's full line of skin care has become a favorite among those with sensitive skin of all ages. This set is the perfect way to pamper the entire family.


Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

Mushie kids' round dinnerware bowl set

No need to sacrifice safety or design with the sustainable dinnerware from Mushie. Their minimalist, functional dishes are perfect for serving up meals and snacks to your tablemates who might hurl it to the floor at any point. They're made in Denmark from BPA-free polypropylene plastic mamas can feel good about and dishwasher and microwave-safe as well.


Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

Plan Toys geo stacking blocks

The best engaging, open-ended toys are the ones that are left out and available, inviting little (and big!) ones to play. These beautiful gem-like blocks make for addicting coffee table play for the entire family.


Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Plan Toys wooden green dollhouse

Energy-efficient design isn't just for grown-up real estate. This green dollhouse includes a wind turbine, a solar cell panel, electric inverter, recycling bins, a rain barrel, a biofacade and a blind that can adjust the amount of sunlight and air circulation along with minimalist furniture we'd totally love to have in our own houses.


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


Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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Sen. Kamala Harris is Joe Biden's VP: What this means for mothers

Harris is making history as the first Black and South Asian woman to join a major party ticket.

Kamala Harris paid leave

[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

On Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, picked California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate and vice-presidential nominee. This is huge news for mothers in the United States because Harris has been pushing for change on several issues that matter so much to moms.

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