‘You aren’t a person—you are a mommy’

Taking care of yourself is actually taking care of others.

‘You aren’t a person—you are a mommy’

“You aren’t a person, you are a mommy.”

This is what I heard one exhausted morning, after using logic to explain to my small children why they should sometimes wake Daddy (a very capable Daddy) for early morning needs.

We walked through it, step by step. “All animals need rest. All humans are animals. Therefore all humans need rest.” I thought we were all on the same page.

My two-year-old and my four-year-old were throwing out ideas: “Yea, like doggies need rest, and like birds need rest, and crocodiles need rest, and I need rest and all kids need rest, because all people need rest.” Excitedly, I offered the next piece, the conclusion, the a-ha.


“Right! And so then you know that I need rest—I am a person—so I need rest!”

They looked at me and kind of laughed. “You don’t need rest! You aren’t a person! You are a mommy!”

Right there.

That explained so much.

But it’s funny because often times throughout my days or my week, that’s kind of how I feel. Like why would I need real lunch? I’m a mommy. Or why would I consider taking a shower this morning? I’m a mommy.

A few days can go by without rest, or alone time, or a real lunch, and everything is swimming along just fine, still blissfully in love with mommyhood, until that next morning. Or the next time someone needs to tell me a story at 3 am. Or when I’m called outside from prepping dinner to answer “now how was the whole world made in the first place, anyway?*” Or when I have said the words Put on your shoes please. Put on your shoes please. Please put on your shoes 400 times and no one can hear me.

And then I realize I haven’t felt like a person outside of “mommy” in one moment too long.

Nearly five years into motherhood this realization still surprises me. It surprises me that I’m still not used to not being able to leave the house whenever I want. It surprises me that somebody needs me 24/7. And it shocks me at how hard that is for me from time to time, as I love these two little beings with all my might.

Fortunately, I have a longstanding yoga practice, long enough so that even on days I never reach the mat, I can fall into yoga mind, and drop down into heart space. I can maneuver from heart—and when I can’t—when that feels too difficult, when I can only hear my mind working, projecting, worrying, list making—I know I’m too far from center. At that moment, I know I need to return to being a person immediately, to regroup, to re-center.

Once upon a time I didn’t believe this was all that important. I thought the most important thing I could do would be to be available for my children at all times.

But as I’ve learned – that is not of best service.

I cannot be a good mother unless I’m treating myself as a person first. It doesn’t take much to get me there—but the realization of this, the acceptance of this, the understanding of my limits and boundaries has helped me find my way as a person-mommy. And for this, my heart has more love to bestow upon my darling babies. Which in my book, makes me a better mommy after all.

So my message here, to you, to you busy beautiful mama, today is this. It’s ok if you want to be a person sometimes. If you are ever finding yourself in that “not a person” place, and if that place can lead to resentment, or burn out, or sadness, or anxiety, or whatever it may be—please enlist a practice of mine that has helped me restore peace and balance time and again.

Create an inspiration list. Create a list of any places, quotes, poems, songs, colorful clothing items, body work, special nature spots, recipes, people, exercises, literally ANYTHING that breathes light back into your spirit. Depending on the availability of time or the nature of your circumstance, you may only have the freedom to make a cup of tea, go pick up that book of Mary Oliver and read quietly to yourself, or you may have the time to take the morning and go be a tourist in your own town. Whatever it is —do it. Your heart needs it. Your Spirit needs it.

And then, beyond all that, your children need it. Mine now recognize when I’ve had enough. My son will actually tell me that I seem “a little off. Maybe cranky. Do you think we should do a beach trip and collect some rocks?”

Trust me. You deserve the time it takes to feel like a person again – and your entire family will enjoy their mommy who is also a person.

*Note. I actually love these questions. Just an example of all the different jobs in a day.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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