A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
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By Shelley Hopper


Ahhh, motherhood. Sweet, sweet motherhood. Behind the lack of sleep and momnesia, there’s so much beauty in everyday moments and memories.

It’s no secret our littles grow way too fast and suddenly turn into 2 and 3-year-olds who seem to be going on 13. Whether it’s getting through a new growth spurt, a new bedtime routine, beginning potty training, enrolling in preschool, or the little cherub who decided it’s a good idea to phase out of naps at 2-and-a-half-years-old…we get it.

The list of questions on how-do-I-survive-this-grow. We’ve been there. We feel for you. We support you. And the daily or weekly glass of wine or workout that gets you through the ups and downs.

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With that, here’s our round-up of how you know you’re a mama to a toddler, and the firecracker that they are.

1. You soon learn that Legos are your worst nightmare, and you fear stepping on one more than you fear stepping on a bee.

2. You’re lucky if you (ever) get anywhere on time, which is basically a half hour late according to the mom clock.

3. You traded designer handbags for grab-and-go-rough-and-tough durable bags back in the infant days, and make sure those mini suitcases are filled with wipes and snacks—at ALL times. Because Lord help you if you head out for errands and forget snacks for the hangry monster that will appear out of nowhere; even if they ate all their breakfast!

4. You basically do not own any white or nice item of clothing, because what’s the point? The risk of every and all kinds of stains will find their way right to you—smears of any kind have become a dangerous look to any wardrobe these days.

5. Speaking of stains—forget only packing a change of clothes for your mini. You probably keep a spare set of clothing (and if you don’t, you should) in your car since toddlers are basically little drunk people who are a liability to any outfit.

6. When you get in someone’s car who doesn’t have kids, you’re shocked at how clean it is. “Is this brand new? It looks so clean and smells so nice.” “No, Mama, it’s like four years old…..” Wait, what? Cars can look this clean when they’re not fresh off the lot? Mind. Blown.

7. You might think you’re the boss, but you’re not. Your toddler is the king or queen of your castle, and won’t let you forget it.

8. When your friends without kids spend the day with you, they’re home asleep by 5 pm or pouring a glass of wine beforehand, wondering how in the world you manage the chaos all day. Oh, those sweet little things and how innocent they are pre-parenting.

9. Is it bad to want noise-silencing headphones or dream of quiet, uninterrupted bathroom breaks, showers, or meals? No, most definitely not. What is silence? That’s a thing?

10. The toddler tornado is SO real. Or, also known as a category five hurricane that blows through with gusts up to 100 mph, with no predictable weather pattern. You feel it. Your house feels it. And your partner or family never fail to walk in the door during the eye of the storm and ask, “What have you been doing all day and why is the house so messy?!” The. Nerve.

11. You sing Hallelujah and say a prayer for your former favorite TV shows to Rest In Peace. Perhaps you'll remember to DVR them and manage to get through a series within a year. But they've most likely been replaced with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Princess Sophia, Blaze, or some other annoyingly lovable, quotable show on Disney Jr. or Nick Jr.

12. Your sanity and appearance will be questioned daily, and probably like 16293 times within a 12-hour span. But your heart has never been so full (or your hands). Good thing under-eye concealer and eye-brightening shadows can help mask three years of sleep deprivation.

13. Speaking of sleep…are there people who truly sleep for 8-10 hours uninterrupted and in peace without flailing limbs knocking them in the face or body parts throughout the night? Because let’s be real, you probably haven’t slept in or so solidly since college. The toddler who originally falls asleep so sweet and angelic magically seems to turn into an octopus-like creature with eight arms in the middle of the night. All of which end up on you or smacking you.

14. No small item is safe. They’re either trying to eat it or throw it at your face. You become a ninja overnight and have all-star catching abilities.

15. Is there such thing as a car ride where shoes stay on? As if you weren’t running late already, now you get to wrestle the little cat in your backseat and try to put their shoes back on (for the tenth time of the day).

16. You have to reheat your tea or coffee at least five times throughout the day because heaven forbid you get to finish a cup in one sitting. Do they make caffeine IVs yet? And you don’t even remember what eating a warm meal is like since you have to chop your mini’s meal up into little chunks before even considering sitting down in front of your plate.

17. You immediately panic when your kids are present, not napping, and there is silence. They very well may be coloring the walls, “painting” the dog, setting a new makeup trend by using all of yours, re-organizing your cabinets (that you just sorted), or jumping into the piles of your freshly washed and folded laundry. They say silence is golden, but that goes out the window in toddler land.

18. Little white lies sneak up on your tongue….that food you don’t want to share? “Sorry, buddy, it’s soooo spicy.” “Wayyyy too hot.” “You’re allergic.” #Shameless

19. You listened to your pediatrician and kept your little angel away from electronics until they were two years old. But now that they throw the most insane tantrums in the middle of grocery aisle number eight? “Hey, want to watch a show?” You have to stay home from work because they had to stay home from school? Cartoon marathon so you can get through emails. No judgment. Just understanding that sometimes a few minutes of peace are worth any cartoon in the world.

20. You realize how weird and downright wacky some bedtime stories are. What the heck were some of these authors on?! Of course, most are beautiful and full of warm and fuzzies, but some are more bizarre than you ever remember hearing when you were little. And there's no chance you're getting past bedtime before reading at least 5-10 books since toddlers all seem like they just downed a cup of coffee right before bedtime.

21. Things that would have completely and utterly disgusted you pre-parenthood have become your norm. They’re still awful, of course, but the thought of getting peed on or boogers flicked on you when you were in your 20s versus surviving infanthood and now toddlerhood, does the word gross even have meaning anymore?

22. Your house is no longer properly feng shuied or decorated with tasteful items on your coffee table. Magazines get shredded, vases get broken, and picture frames get chucked across the room. Because of that, there isn’t one thing that’s left under 3’ shelves. Except for dirty hand prints. And you immediately regret going over to friend's houses who don't have kids, because your little monster, ehem, angel, probably just destroyed all their most valuable, precious things.

23. You once dreaded going to the park in fear of awkwardly socializing with other moms, or being surrounded by little monsters you don’t know. But now, if you don’t make it to the park or a strenuous activity, you’re stuck with what feels like a rabid dog in a cage the rest of the day.

24. You question who on earth invented the mini potty-training toilets. Why do they come in ten pieces? Why are they so hard to clean? Why do boys pee on every inch of the bathroom EXCEPT in the potty? Why do toddlers take poops as big as grown men? We’ll never know….oh the bathroom mysteries.

25. Happy hour is no longer at 5 pm involving drinks with girlfriends. It’s more like happy 10 minutes; the interval between when your kids are finally asleep and before you pass out by 9 pm.

26. You follow a healthy lifestyle. Wine is made from fermented grapes, so it’s basically a fruit, and you're fully convinced it most definitely counts as a daily fruit serving.

27. You turn into superwoman when you’re running errands. Remember the days you used to poke in Target for an hour and enjoy yourself? Now you have the superpower of getting in and out within 20 minutes. BUT, that being said, you also sneak away to Target when you’re kidless and happily enjoy trying on clothes, getting a caramel latte, and buying $100 worth of things you don’t actually need.

28. People actually shut the door when they need to use the bathroom? Are peeping toms frowned upon? Cue Justin Bieber’s, What Do You Mean?

29. Speaking of Justin Bieber, when did he turn into an adult? Does that mean we’re old now? Wasn’t he our age? I’m so confused. And you’re confused who any modern pop star is. Because they’re like 12. And we’re like….shhh.

30. You have to buy wrinkle cream, under-eye lifting serums, and dye your gray hair. Hair starts to grow in weird places, skin begins to sag, and when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, you realize you’re slowly resembling your mom. Here’s to hoping she has good genes!

31. Your phone used to have like 20,000 photos of your newborn napping peacefully, accomplishing all their "firsts" and special milestones, crawling down the hallway, etc. Now, you're lucky if you snap one photo a week of your active toddler since you're too busy chasing after them and making sure your phone isn't being flushed down a toilet.

Originally posted on FIT4MOM.

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As a former beauty editor, I pride myself in housing the best skincare products in my bathroom. Walk in and you're sure to be greeted with purifying masks, micellar water, retinol ceramide capsules and Vitamin C serums. What can I say? Old habits die hard. But when I had my son, I was hesitant to use products on him. I wanted to keep his baby-soft skin for as long as possible, without tainting it with harsh chemicals.

Eventually, I acquiesced and began using leading brands on his sensitive skin. I immediately regretted it. His skin became dry and itchy and regardless of what I used on him, it never seemed to get better. I found myself asking, "Why don't beauty brands care about baby skin as much as they care about adult skin?"

When I had my daughter in May, I knew I had to take a different approach for her skin. Instead of using popular brands that are loaded with petroleum and parabens, I opted for cleaner products. These days I'm all about skincare that contains super-fruits (like pomegranate sterols, which are brimming with antioxidants) and sulfate-free cleansers that contain glycolipids that won't over-dry her skin. And, so far, Pipette gets it right.

What's in it

At first glance, the collection of shampoo, wipes, balm, oil and lotion looks like your typical baby line—I swear cute colors and a clean look gets me everytime—but there's one major difference: All products are environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, with ingredients derived from plants or nontoxic synthetic sources. Also, at the core of Pipette's formula is squalane, which is basically a powerhouse moisturizing ingredient that babies make in utero that helps protect their skin for the first few hours after birth. And, thanks to research, we know that squalane isn't an irritant, and is best for those with sensitive skin. Finally, a brand really considered my baby's dry skin.

Off the bat, I was most interested in the baby balm because let's be honest, can you ever have too much protection down there? After applying, I noticed it quickly absorbed into her delicate skin. No rash. No irritation. No annoyed baby. Mama was happy. It's also worth noting there wasn't any white residue left on her bottom that usually requires several wipes to remove.


Why it's different

I love that Pipette doesn't smell like an artificial baby—you, know that powdery, musky note that never actually smells like a newborn. It's fragrance free, which means I can continue to smell my daughter's natural scent that's seriously out of this world. I also enjoy that the products are lightweight, making her skin (and my fingers) feel super smooth and soft even hours after application.

The bottom line

Caring for a baby's sensitive skin isn't easy. There's so much to think about, but Pipette makes it easier for mamas who don't want to compromise on safety or sustainability. I'm obsessed, and I plan to start using the entire collection on my toddler as well. What can I say, old habits indeed die hard.

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

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Military families give up so much for their country, particularly when they have small children at home. Those of us who have never witnessed this kind of sacrifice first-hand could use a reminder of it once in a while, which is just one of the reasons we're so happy to see the beautiful photoshoot Mary Chevalier arranged for her husband's return home from Afghanistan.

The photoshoot was extra special because while James Chevalier was serving a nine-month deployment, Mary gave birth to their second son, Caspian.

Getting ready to meet Dad

"During the laboring and birthing process of Caspian, I was surrounded by family, but that did not fill the void of not having my husband by my side," Mary told InsideEdition.com. "He was able to video chat during the labor and birth, but for both of us, it was not enough."

While James had yet to meet Caspian, their 3-year-old son, Gage, missed his dad a whole lot, so this homecoming was going to be a big deal for him too. That's why Mary arranged for her wedding photographer, Brittany Watson, to be with them for their reunion in Atlanta.

Gage was so happy to see his Dad 

"[He] had no idea he was going to be getting to see his daddy that day," Watson wrote on Facebook. "The family met at the Southeastern Railway Museum for Gage to go on a special train ride... little did he know, he'd be doing it with daddy!"

Watson did a beautiful job capturing the high emotions of every single family member, from Gage's surprise, to the delight on baby Caspian's face. It's no wonder her Facebook post went viral last week.

"Caspian is natural, a very happy baby, but both James and I felt like Caspian knew who his father was almost immediately," Mary told Inside Edition. "He was easily comforted by me husband right off the bat and seemed to have an instant connection. It was very emotional."

The moment this dad had been waiting for 

If we're sobbing just looking at the photos, we can't even imagine what it was like in real life.

"We are all so blessed and take so much for granted," Watson wrote. "I cannot contain the joy I feel in my heart when I look at these images, and I hope you feel it too!"


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During both of my pregnancies, I was under the care of an amazing midwife. Every time I went to her office for check-ups, I was mesmerized by the wall of photos participating in what may be the most painfully magical moment of a woman's life: giving birth. But there was a painting that always drew my attention: a woman dressed in orange, holding her newborn baby with a face that could be described as clueless. The line above the canvas read, "Now what?"

I felt like the woman in the painting as I kissed my mother goodbye when my daughter was born. She came from my native Colombia to stay with us for three months. When she left, I realized that my husband had been working as usual during those first 90 days of our new life. My baby was born on a Friday and on Monday he was back at the office. (No parental leave policy for him.)

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Now what? I thought. The quote "It takes a village to raise a child" suddenly started to hit home, literally.

After a few years in Miami, I had some friends, but it truly didn't feel like I had a village. Some were not mothers yet, most of them worked full-time and others didn't live close by. My nomad life left my best friends spread out in different places in the world. I found myself signing up for "mommy and me" classes in search of new mothers, immigrants like me, alone like me.

It seemed like a utopian dream to think about when my grandmothers became mothers. Both of them had 6 and 10 children and they were able to stay sane (or maybe not? I don't know). But at least they had family around—people cooking, offering help. There was a sense of community.

My mother and father grew up in "the village." Big families with so many children that the older siblings ended up taking care of the little ones; aunts were like second mothers and neighbors became family.

When I was about to give birth to my second baby, my sister had just had her baby girl back in Colombia. Once, she called me crying because her maternity leave was almost over. My parents live close to her, so that was a bonus. Hiring a nanny back there is more affordable. But even seeing the positive aspects of it, I wished I could have been there for her, to be each other's village.

The younger me didn't realize that when I took a plane to leave my country in search of new experiences 19 years ago, I was giving up the chance to have my loved ones close by when I became a mother. And when I say close by, I mean as in no planes involved.

It hasn't been easy, but after two kids and plenty of mommy and me classes and random conversations that became true connections, I can say I have a mini-village, a small collection of solitudes coming together to lean on each other. But for some reason, it doesn't truly feel like one of those described in the old books where women gathered to knit while breastfeeding and all the children become like siblings.

Life gets in the way, and everyone gets sucked into their own worlds. In the absence of a true village, we feel the pressure to be and do everything that once was done by a group of people. We often lose perspective of priorities because we are taking care of everything at the same time. Starting to feel sick causes anxiety and even fear because it means so many things need to happen in order for mom—especially if single—to lay down and recover while the children are taken care of. And when the children get sick, that could mean losing money for a working mother or father, because the truth is that most corporations are not designed to nurture families.

In the absence of that model of a village I long for, we tend to rely on social media to have a sense of community and feel supported. We may feel that since we are capable of doing so much—working and stay at home moms equally—perhaps we don't need help. Or quite the opposite: mom guilt kicks in and feelings of not being enough torment our night sleep. Depression and anxiety can enter the picture and just thinking about the amount of energy and time that takes to create true connections, we may often curl up in our little cocoon with our children and partners—if they are present—when they come home.

Now what? was my thought this week while driving back and forth to the pediatrician with my sick son. I can't get the virus, I have to be strong, my daughter can't get ill, my husband needs to be healthy for his work trip next week, we all need to be well for my son's fifth birthday. And so, it goes on. I texted one of my mom friends just to rant. She rants back because her son is also sick. She sent me a heart and an "I'm here if you need to talk."

I am grateful to have talked to her at that random postpartum circle when I first became a mother. She's a Latina immigrant like me and feels exactly like me. I will do it more, get out of my comfort zone and have—sometimes—awkward conversations so I can keep growing my own little village.

It may not look like the one I'd imagined, but still may allow me to be vulnerable even through a text message.

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Halloween is around the corner, but if you are like me you are still trying to figure out what to dress your family (especially the little ones), so here are some cute ideas inspired by famous characters. There's something for everyone—from cartoon lovers to ideas for the entire family!

Here are some adorable character costumes for your family:

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