Get everything you love about Motherly–delivered right to your inbox.
Get the best of Motherly—delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
and Terms & Conditions

Thank you
for subscribing!

Welcome to
#Team Motherly.

x
Print Friendly and PDF

In my experience, division starts early in the world of mothers. When I was roughly seven months pregnant with my first child, I did a crash course on all the labor, delivery and parenting classes offered at my local hospital. Starting a family in my 30s, I was keen to do the whole thing "right."

To my relief and terror, the one and two-day lessons—covering topics ranging from labor to diapering—made it very clear that there was a "best" way to do just about everything.

While the labor class presented the idea of epidurals, it was evident in the way this class was taught, that the mothers able to give birth naturally would be the happiest. I wrote furiously in my notebook and scanned my partner's eyes to see if he believed I had it in me to go the distance without drugs.

FEATURED VIDEO

Recounting tales of the seminar at a barbecue that weekend, a mother of two spoke to me with intensity. "If you use drugs or an epidural during your baby's delivery, you will regret it for the rest of your life," she said.

I wrapped my arms around my precious bump and wrapped my heart around her words. Would I fail at being a mother before I'd even begun? How different that moment would have been for me if she had extended welcome and support instead.

Now, don't get me wrong. My girlfriends, sisters, aunts and mom are my absolute bedrock. It is upon their love and reinforcement that I thrive. But mothers seem to be expected to choose sides when it comes to parenting—often to the detriment of our emotional well-being and our gender as a whole, I believe.

But, how wonderful would it be to have a conversation with someone whose mothering decisions differed from our own without judgment or feelings of inadequacy?

On another day, I attended a nursing class. A confident midwife welcomed us anxious 20 or so moms-to-be. "I'm going to write the three most controversial words you'll ever hear on this board," she said with marker in hand.

Instantly perched as far forward on the edges of our seats as our beautifully full bellies would allow, we watched her undertake a flurry of arm movements, her back to the room. Moments later, she turned to reveal in bold, all-caps letters: FEEDING. SLEEPING. DIAPERING.

She went on to explain that as mothers we would develop deep devotion and almost radical conviction to the ways we decided to care for our babies.

Would we co-sleep or never allow them in the bed? Was using a pacifier worth the possible nipple confusion risk? Considering the resources required to launder cloth diapers, which diapering choice was nobler for the planet? We would have to decide and then we'd have to commit.

I called my mom afterward, wondering how she chose to formula feed.

"I had a difficult time nursing in the hospital. The nurses suggested I try bottle feeding," she said. Adding, "My generation wasn't really told there was one right way to do everything. We just loved our way through."

The idea of relying on love over facts did appeal to me. But as I hung up the phone, I went back to reading statistics on my screen about breastfeeding and formula feeding and everything in between.

That midwife's warning proved true in my life. Mothers were ardently passionate about the choices they made.

I tiptoed around certain topics when making new mom friends, careful not to come on too strong or turn them away if our home habits differed. The overall impact is that I never felt truly myself around these fellow moms. Struggles I was having stayed secret – observing an unspoken rule never to show weakness. I wondered if my new friends were equally uneasy.

As the years have passed, the fervor hasn't really dwindled. Moms continue to be under pressure to choose sides: screen-time, sleeping schedules, discipline approach, scholastic expectation, sports focus and sugar intake to name a few.

But here's the thing: Every mom I've encountered is simply trying to do the best she can for her children.

This idea of committing categorically to an approach puts too much pressure on the mother and encourages distrust of other styles. In my professional life, I learned at the start that success was found in being nimble—not blindly committing to a path.

Moreover, appreciating different parenting styles creates a richer environment. I often advise my kids to see all sides of a situation—explaining that opposing positions can be enlightening.

In a culture where there is ever-growing reliance on echo-chambers, moms have an opportunity to lead the charge out of insular, self-serving conversations.

Open-mindedness about ideas that disagree with our own might not result in any change to our parenting behavior, but we can create a genuinely supportive landscape in which every mother (and the children she is raising) is encouraged to be successful.

There are multiple paths to take to arrive at the destination we're all working toward—well-raised children. I plan to remind myself more often that a mother who is raising her children with different daily choices than my own is not a threat.

In the process, I hope to model for my kiddos that uniting around a common goal does not require we all be identical. Valuing one another's differences is where equality and progress reside.

I am convinced that my new, sincerely accepting perspective will allow me to enjoy being a mother even more than I do because I will be operating from a position of true openness. I invite you to join me if you wish.

You might also like:

The very best of Motherly — delivered when you need it most.
Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Subscribe for inspiration, empowering articles and expert tips to rock your best #momlife.

Thanks for subscribing!

Check your email for a confirmation message.

Caring for young children can be challenging enough on a perfectly normal day, but during an emergency those challenges are magnified. Natural disasters and emergencies—such as earthquakes, storms, fires, power outages, flooding or outbreaks that affect a wide community—obviously present a major operational challenge for childcare programs.

That's why childcare providers need to have preparedness plans for emergencies and natural disasters that are likely to occur in their communities. Be sure to discuss emergency planning with your day care, childcare program or after-school care provider.

Here are a few helpful questions to ask to make sure that your child's day care or childcare is ready for emergencies.

1. Does the parent handbook cover emergency planning? Is it up to date?

The parent handbook should serve as a guide for everything that takes place in a childcare program, from drop-off protocols to nap schedules, and it should also include information about the program's emergency plans, response, and recovery. As situations change or arise, the parent handbook should be updated accordingly.

FEATURED VIDEO

2. What is your communication plan for emergencies or disasters?

While 90% of childcare providers have written emergency response plans, only 70% have plans to communicate with family members during an emergency. Your provider should outline its plan of communication in its parent handbook.

3. Do you perform drills for disasters that are likely to occur in our area?

Ask whether your day care or childcare program has practiced its emergency response plans in a calm, safe environment—in other words, before it's necessary.

4. What is your evacuation plan?

In the rare event that an evacuation is necessary, it's important for providers to include up-to-date evacuation drills and protocols in the parent handbook. Caregivers, staff, parents and children should all know the designated meet-up point during a community evacuation.

5. Do you have a safe, designated evacuation spot in the event of a community evacuation?

Once staff and children calmly evacuate the building, there needs to be a safe shelter-in-place spot nearby. This location should be kid-friendly and have plenty of food, water and ways to keep young children occupied. The location should also be able to accommodate children with special needs and those with medical requirements.

6. What is your shelter-in-place plan?

During an emergency where parents are unable to access roads or public transportation, childcare programs need to have a shelter-in-place plan. Whether children stay at the facility or evacuate to a safe spot nearby, providers need to keep at least 72 hours worth of food, water, and medical supplies up to date. The program should also have parents write notes in advance letting children know that everything is okay.

7. Do you have post-disaster plans?

According to FEMA, more than 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. If childcare programs close, parents cannot return to work and recovery cannot begin. Also, young children need a safe, secure, and familiar place to return to after a disaster.

8. How do you discuss emergencies in an age-appropriate manner with children?

A great way for care providers to introduce the concept of emergency plans to children is to have them help create emergency kits. This way children become familiar with emergency response items. Teachers should also let parents know how they plan to talk to children about emergencies in advance.

9. What are your policies for closing?

Childcare providers must give advance warning to parents about closures if there is an impending weather emergency. If roadways near the childcare program are typically out of use during an emergency, both parents and staff need to map out secondary pick-up plans in advance.

10. Are you in touch with local preparedness organizations?

Local emergency organizations can provide advice and tips to prepare for an emergency or natural disaster. Parents, care providers and community organizations should meet regularly and have the most recent copies of the parent handbook.

According to FEMA, in 2019 alone, there were 59 declared disasters in the U.S. These emergencies include earthquakes, tropical storms, fires, floods, severe storms, tornadoes, landslides, mudslides, extreme wind, and snowstorms. But basic advance preparation can go a long way toward helping parents and caregivers feel ready for emergencies and disasters, and can ensure that families and care providers stay safe.

A version of this post was originally published at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness

Learn + Play

The transition to motherhood is tough, and you deserve a little love! Join us March 28th for Motherly's Becoming Mama event in NYC for a day filled with conversations and connections that will leave you feeling inspired. Get advice from expert panels, indulge in a little pampering, and meet other local mamas IRL for a day of empowerment and support.


Register now for early-bird pricing, and access to limited VIP tickets with exclusive gift bags.

Here's what you can expect:

  • A mindful mama meditation to start your day.
  • Interactive panels and workshops focused on the hottest topics for new moms and moms-to-be. Check them out below!
  • A healthy lunch + delicious snacks
  • Pregnancy + postpartum pampering
  • Personalized gifts for you + your baby
  • The chance to test the hottest baby gear on the market
  • A swag bag filled with surprises
  • Amazing giveaways from our brand partners

Sat, March 28, 2020
10 am-2:30 pm
SECOND.
849 6th Ave
New York, NY 10001

REGISTER NOW

Here's what we'll be talking about on our panels:

Navigating the Fourth Trimester: Self-Care for Mom
While having a baby is a joyous occasion it often involves mom putting her own health on hold and speeding into overdrive to care for baby. Here postpartum experts will discuss the importance of postpartum mental wellness, and the importance of asking for help and finding support.

FEATURED VIDEO

The Motherhood Advantage sponsored by Medela
Motherhood brings so many advantages to the workplace, and yet, it's still a topic often talked about in hushed voices. We'll invite Medela to sponsor this very important panel that will evolve this working mom conversation. Together we can work to erase the Motherhood Penalty, support moms with the proper tools and lift each other up in the workplace.

Parenting in Partnership: Learning to Share the Load
There's never been a more equitable time to be a parent, and yet so many mothers still feel like they're carrying more than their fair share. Let's talk about how to create a parenting team from the start, with tips, tricks and expert advice on leveling the playing field between parenting partners.

*While many of Motherly's events are family focused, there will not be specific activities or play spaces for babies or kids. This event is more mom-focused. Babies under 1 are welcome at this event, but a baby carrier is suggested. Please use your discretion.

Thank you to our sponsors buybuy Baby and Medela.

REGISTER NOW
Shop

When I think about Meghan Markle, her effortless style is usually one of the the first things that comes to mind. Whether she's traveling, taking her dogs for a walk, or attending a royal event, her outfits always look timeless and put together. Yet somehow she still manages to wear outfits that feel way more accessible (even when she is donning a gorgeous—but expensive—coat we've had in our cart for much longer than we care to admit).

While I can't quite afford a personal stylist yet or drop a few thousand on a bag, I did do a little digging and found that a few of her wardrobe staples are items that I can add to my closet, with a little investment. And, if you're not in the market to invest this much, don't worry—I found dupes that will do the trick!

Here are our favorite products to achieve Meghan Markle's classic mom style:

Meghan's pick: Rothy's flats

rothys flat

Confession: I own a lot of shoes. But I wear my Rothy's at least once a week and they're the first shoe I toss into my luggage when I'm traveling because they're so comfortable and can be machine-washed. The Point is my (and apparently Meghan Markle's) favorite style because it elongates the legs and goes with literally anything you wear. I love that they're made from recycled plastic water bottles, too. And, they just launched the Mary Jane—it has a bow!—if you prefer a more dainty look with a fun twist.

$145

Our dupe: ASOS ballet flats

asos black pointed toe

This pointed pair will give a similar elongated look at just $23. They come in half sizes and if you're unsure which size is best, ASOS offers a sizing recommendation. The material isn't machine-washable (like our prized Rothy's) but you can wipe these clean with a damp cloth to keep them looking like new.

$23

Meghan's pick: Wool wrap jacket

meghan markle wool coat

There's just something so elegant about this coat. Maybe it's the wrap waist that flatters any body type. Or, it's the way the collared neck drapes (seriously it'll even make wearing pajamas look chic). It's become one of the most recognized pieces from Meghan's wardrobe and we are obsessed.

$750

Our dupe: Tahari wool blend coat

tahari wool blend cape coat

Looking for something more affordable? This coat is marked down to $83 from $360 at Nordstrom Rack. While we haven't personally tried it, at 77% off, we can bet the quality is pretty up to par with a higher-end jacket. Plus, we're obsessed with the pale blue and port wine colorways. The removable waist tie belt and shoulder cape overlay will have you feeling like Meghan Markle in just about anything.

Bonus: We love this Amazon dupe that's just under $80.

$82.48

Meghan's pick: Longchamp bag

longchamp bag

On the quest for a bag that holds just about everything you need (without having to be a diaper bag)? Say hello to the Longchamp 'Le Pliage' tote. It's water-resistant, has durable leather straps and folds up into a square for each storage or packing. I've had mine for more than five years and it's still going strong—and it's schlepped a lot of heavy things over the years. Plus, it just looks nice with everything!

$125

Our dupe: Amazon shoulder bag

longchamp knock off bag

This dupe on Amazon has 59 great reviews and the large size is under $30! With three sizes, you can pick whatever best fits your style. Each bag comes with a zippered main compartment and interior pockets and yes, it even folds up just like the real thing.

$27.99

Meghan's pick: Birdies slippers

birdies slippers

Are they house slippers or the most comfortable flats you've owned? Spoiler alert: They're both. Meghan has been spotted wearing The Heron style (I've been spotted wearing the slides around my apartment all day) many times and we think the velvet detail dresses up just about anything, even leggings. The no-slip rubber sole and 7-layer support means you can run around in these all day long without missing a beat.

$95

Our dupe: Chase & Chloe pointy loafer

pointy toe loafer

While you won't experience the cloud-like softness of Birdies, you can achieve a similar look with this pair from Nordstrom Rack for under $20. Both black and tan pairs come with a padded footbed, grip sole and a flexible construction (so hopefully no blisters even from day one).

$19.97

Meghan's pick: Madewell denim jacket

madewell denim jacket

I didn't own a denim jacket until last year and since then, I've worn it in just about every season. Over summer dresses, paired with a T-shirt, over a blouse, you name it. It add just enough extra warmth without having to put on something bulky and is machine-washable. For an extra-cool and Meghan Markle factor, roughly roll up the sleeves twice.

$118

Our dupe: Old Navy denim jacket

old navy denim jacket

Grab this $30 distressed denim look at Old Navy. I'm not sure how they do it, but their denim jackets are *so* soft. This one is slightly fitted so size up if you're looking for a more oversized look. Just like the Madewell one, this hits right below the waist, making it great to pair with pants or dresses.

$35

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

Shop
Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.