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I’m tired.

A phrase I’ve said almost every day since becoming a mother. I’ve said it to my kids, my husband and myself. It’s a shock to the system, how tiring motherhood is. There is truly no way to prepare.


And I’ve sure looked the part. That stereotypical stay-at-home mom in her pajamas, shuffling her feet though the produce section of the grocery store, shushing babies, appeasing toddlers, shoulders hunched and face ashen in exhaustion, looking like she’s completely given up—I’ve been her.

Why are you tired? Someone might say in return.

Why? Here’s why Mommy is tired.

At 3 a.m., one of you rustles in your sleep. Pushes off a blanket. I am jerked awake immediately.

Which one of you moved? Is something wrong? The neighbor was puking the other day, I’ll recall. Is one of you going to puke? What if you all get it? What if I get it? Next weekend is the baseball tournament and the school talent show. Oh no.

No. You’re all quiet now. No puke tonight.

But now that I’m wide awake, let’s think about stuff.

Did I make flu shot appointments? The 8-year-old needs new shoes before the talent show. And the 6-year-old needs a gift for that birthday party Saturday. Can’t forget. Maybe I should get up and write that on a post-it. And might as well check on all the kids while I’m up. Oh look, this one peed the bed.

Twenty minutes later, I’m back in bed.

Close your eyes, Mommy, I say to myself. It’s 4 a.m. You can get two more hours in…But what if my six-year-old doesn’t get placed on her best friend’s softball team? She’ll be devastated. How will I break that to her…

And it’s not just insomnia that tires Mommy.

It’s the fears. Oh God, the fears. Of bullies. And guns. And predators. And childhood cancer. And Lyme Disease. And drowning. And crossing the street without looking and peanut allergies and plane crashes and….

The fears are so incredibly exhausting.

And if we get a break from the fears, next comes the pressures we put on ourselves.

Susan down the street says HER son is done with diapers. Ugh. I need to start. And the kindergartner next door knows ALL her sight words. What if my kid falls behind? And I can’t get my four-year-old to drink his milk or eat a vegetable. What his insides must look like. And the eight-year-old is playing too many video games. We need a time chart to monitor his gaming. Need to work on that. Find the time. Make it a priority. All of it. Need to do better!

But Mommy! You need to take care of you. You need to work on self-care. Then you’d be less tired.

Right. Hmmm when can I work out tomorrow? Better get up at 5 a.m. and do it or else I’ll never get it done. 5 a.m...That sounds terrible. I need to make that doctor’s appointment. I haven’t had a physical in five years. I read somewhere about hormonal issues and thyroid issues and pre-menopause and they all sounded oddly familiar...Need to make that a priority. Need to remember to call. Write it on a post-it.

I am tired of trying to fit in self-care. And tired of being tired because there’s no time for self-care.

Why else is Mommy tired?

I am tired because it’s 2:00 in the afternoon and I’ve survived on coffee and the last of my daughter’s crusty cold oatmeal so far today.

I am tired of being endlessly needed, yet invisible.

I am tired of “Where’s my uniform?” and “I need poster-board” and “I’m out of underwear” and “What’s for dinner?” and doing all the things and making it all work like a ghost that floats through the house. The laundry gets washed, folded and put away without anyone realizing it. The groceries are bought, the food is cooked, the floor is swept and the sheets are changed. The uniform is hung up, ready for the next game, the school supplies are purchased and ready for the project on Mt. Vesuvius. The bills are paid, the dry-cleaning is picked up, the garbage is put out by the curb on Tuesdays.

And it’s like no one sees any of it happen. It’s all behind the scenes.

I am the inconspicuous stage manager, putting out scenery and props, dressed in all black, while the audience watches the performance from their seats.

Dinner. I am so tired of battling over dinner. I am tired of tripping over shoes no one put away and refereeing fights over a green marble as I spend an hour in the kitchen chopping, seasoning, and sauteing food that heaven forbid has something green in it.

And hearing “Ew. Mommy, what is this?”

(You’re welcome.)

I’m so tired at 8 p.m. after a day of mothering and worrying and washing and wiping and fixing and managing and refereeing, but then I stay up too late, desperate for an hour or two of no one saying, “Mommy can you…” or “Mommy I need…”

I watch the clock…10 p.m., 11 p.m…

Go to bed, a voice says. But I feel so peaceful and free. Tomorrow night I’ll go to bed early. But not tonight. I need this.

I’m tired of trying to do it all, knowing I can’t do it all, but being unable to stop trying to do it all.

I’m tired of knowing I am on a never-ending quest for perfectionism and appreciation and self-worth and value. I’m tired of not knowing what I need when someone says “How can I help?”

Where do I begin?

I am tired for so many reasons.

I’m tired of doing dishes and laundry and wiping butts and never having an empty sink, the laundry done, or a house that doesn’t smell like poop.

I’m tired of knowing it will never get done. Ever. Yet I have to keep doing it. Because it’s my job.

I am tired of barking and lecturing and nagging and saying the same exact sentences 896 times a day.

I am tired of no one listening the first time. EVER.

I am tired of being angry and frustrated with my kids.

I am tired of being angry and frustrated with myself for getting angry and frustrated with my kids. Because they are just kids.

I am tired of dust bunnies and Cheez-it crumbs and little boys missing the toilet and “Oops, Mommy. I spilled my milk!”

I am tired of walking into clean, organized homes and wondering how they do it. And what is wrong with me that I can’t get it together?

I am so tired of not having it together.

I am tired of competing with the unrealistic version of who I think I should be.

I am tired of realizing at the end of the day that I was too tired to enjoy the giggles and tickles and hugs and snuggles.

But I vow to be less tired tomorrow.

Because I don’t want to look back and realize I missed it all.

I just need to go to bed early tonight.

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

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

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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.

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A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[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.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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