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Motherhood is: Needing to be *not* needed just for a little bit

I love my snuggles and I love being the antidote to their fear and sadness. But occasionally, I do wish they understood that they could easily wake their dad for help, or that he is equally capable of putting socks on the correct way.

Motherhood is: Needing to be *not* needed just for a little bit

I have a lovely husband, he's a doting father, more sensitive and hands-on than many.

And yet, when the babies need something, when they are awake in the night, when they are upset, when they are overtired and irrational – they want me.

They want to be oh so close to me.

Which, I'll be honest, is both the most beautiful thing ever and the most maddening thing ever.

I love my snuggles and I love being the antidote to their fear and sadness. But occasionally, I do wish they understood that they could easily wake their dad for help, or that he is equally capable of putting socks on the correct way.

I suppose I love being the sun to their universe until that moment when I need a break.

Especially because when I need that break, it can get ugly.

As in storming out of the house screaming nonsensical things, and then hiding in the backyard. Truth. This happened.

The preface to this moment was numerous, consecutive nights of a tag team of small people and two anxious dogs waking me up about 5,743 times in the night. Of being so overtired I could barely see straight, of needing a nap. Badly. Needing to not be needed for just a little bit. The irony on this particular day was that it was a weekend – Daddy was home. Available. The break, the rest,should have come easily.

But the kids were having a tough day also, which in our house results in needing Mommy, not Daddy. I don't remember why they weren't down for a nap yet, or maybe they had slept in the car, or well, I have no idea, but they were up. I desperately needed to be down. I ran away into my bed and closed the door. My husband had strict orders not to let them in. You know this story. Right as I was falling asleep, they busted in “mommy I need YOU…"

I think I spazzed a wee bit,pushed them out of the room, then went to fall asleep again. And again. They slithered in.

I spazzed a little more, got them occupied with Daddy, then snuck away downstairs, to my son's room. His room has black out blinds and is in the bottom corner of our house. Sometimes we call it the bat-cave – it's the perfect place to take a mid day nap. I closed the doorand settled in for a nap. A real nap. Whereupon crying and screaming and whining entered my napping room.

And here's where I snapped. (Looking back I can't help giggling at the image—but at that time—this was not funny. At all.)

I grabbed a blanket off my son's bed. I walked briskly—a scary brisk walk—down the hall to the back door. We had recently purchased an outdoor couch,which at that moment looked like the best place to nap.

I threw the door open, clutching my blanket, and turned around and screamed at the three people I love most, “Why won't you people let me sleep?"

I walked out, slammed the door behind me, and threw myself on the couch. Pulled up the covers and could still hear the kids sniffling and crying behind the closed door. At that point, I was so rattled, I couldn't sleep anymore, so I began my own personal temper tantrum. Irrational, horrible things. You people don't let me sleep! I'm leaving!

My husband, bless his heart, didn't judge me. He took the kids upstairs and probably read to them, or turned on a show or something. Something to distract them from their terrifying mother out in the backyard. When I had collected myself, I re-entered my home. A bit bashful, and still exhausted, but ready to be an adult again. I walked upstairs and found the kids huddled together. Tucker, the big boy, who was all of three, was consoling his very nervous sister. “It's okay, Gracie. Mommies come back. They always come back. They have to." But he didn't sound convinced, and he sure looked relieved when he saw I wasn't actually leaving.

Writing this now, part of me laughs, and part of me feels so badly for saying such awful things to them that day, and part of me wants to hug that me—I was so tired. So please, mamas. If you are feeling on the brink of a SNAP, ask for help. Walk away. Figure out what you need. Give yourself a break. It's really hard to be needed all the time, and to do it on next to no sleep – well. That's a recipe for disaster.

What might save you from taking a blanket to your back yard and announcing you are leaving? A walk? A snack? Someone to listen? A hug? Or maybe more. Find a therapist. A reiki practitioner. Schedule a massage. Do what you need to do fory our sanity.

Mental health is no joke, and a mother's mental health is incredibly important for all members of the family. I think we mamas tend to try to push through, keep taking care of everyone else, and we forget that our mental health should be the number one priority. Now with the clarity of fairly good sleep on a regular basis, I know that. I didn't know it then.

If you find yourself in my situation, threatening to leave until you get a nap somewhere, find a way to take a break. Call in whatever back up you can. I am telling you. Your mental health, you, your family—you all deserve it.


Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

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

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14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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