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How often do we have good intentions to be a more patient mom—and then we come up short… yet again? (Sigh.)

We want to yell less, enjoy our kids more, not stress the small stuff–we mean it when we say next time it’ll be different. We wait, thinking things will resolve themselves with good intentions.

But we’re still waiting. And still snapping. And the guilt and disappointment weighs heavy on our hearts.

No matter how many inspiring articles or books we read, in the heat of the moment, you can still snap, no matter what wise words you've read.

That’s because most of the things we read only touch upon tools to practice in the midst of the meltdown. But that’s only part of it.


We know we should breathe deep but in the midst of a meltdown (ours or our kids) we rarely remember to breathe. We just react. And it’s not your fault, it’s our hardwired habit.

To break that habit, it requires intention to train our mind BEFORE chaos strikes.

Here is your new and improved five-step plan to help you cultivate patience and become the peaceful mama you desire to be.

1. Start 15 minutes early

A lot of our stress and impatience comes from constantly rushing through our day.

Possibly the most patience-testing time for moms is when we are trying to transition our kids.

Out of bed. To school. Get homework done. To the car. To bed.

Instead of setting ourselves up for disappointment, frustration or aggravation, plan to start 15 minutes early.

When we give ourselves a buffer, we don’t put the added pressure of feeling late and delayed on our shoulders.

Planning in that extra buffer time allows time to relax and be more patient as unexpected events arise.

For example, I know my son doesn’t like to be rushed from the moment he wakes up to go out the door for school. I give us a 15-minute buffer, so if the unexpected meltdown hits, I don’t panic and get impatient. Which means I must put him to bed a little earlier on most nights.

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Of course meltdowns aren’t an everyday thing, so on the days things go smoothly, we have a pleasant 15 minutes of playtime before we get out the door and start our day.

And as a bonus I find that those simple and ordinary moments I’m present and patient tend to be the most memorable moments of my day.

Of course this won’t ALWAYS work, but on most days, this keeps me peaceful and my son happy.

2. Don’t multitask

Often times the root of our impatience is because we’re not “all there.” We are distracted while trying to do too much all at once and not fully paying attention to any one particular thing or person.

Being fully present and “all there” with your children eliminates being stuck in our mind and allows us to fully enter what’s happening in this moment.

I find that when I am feeling stressed about “waiting” or when I am prone to snap over some behavior, I am usually focused on something else than what is in front of me.

My son could be taking a long time taking a bath—and I’m already worried about brushing teeth, getting the dishes put away and wondering if we are ever going to get to bed on time. But, if I step back and try to do one task at a time, I am less likely to lose my temper and more likely move through the present situation with focus and patience.

The trick to getting present is getting out of my head and into my body. I take a few deep breaths in through my feet and out through my head. This quickly grounds me into my body and into the moment.

3. Breathe together

Meltdowns are emotionally draining for both you and your child. When we become angry, we are not best place to make rational decisions. Why? Because any strong emotion will block clear, rational thinking.

Instead of trying to talk and rationalize with your child in the midst of chaos, just breathe together.

If there is anything I’ve learned in my seven years of teaching mindful breathing to kids, it’s that we can’t expect our child to practice deep breathing in the moment of chaos unless they have practiced the technique when they are happy and playing.

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In moments of meltdowns (yours or there), it’s important for you and your child to know that feeling intense emotion is OK. So use this script: “I see you are feeling angry. You are safe to feel angry and mommy loves you very much. Why don’t we breathe together to feel better.”

Even if your child doesn’t follow your lead with the breathing, you model the calm breathing. If anything, it will help you stay centered and move through whatever emotion is being triggered within you from their outburst.

Try this breathing technique: Breathe in through your nose for four counts, hold the breath for a heartbeat and exhale the breathe through your mouth for eight counts slowly.

Counting in your mind just ensures your “thinking brain” is still engaged, which will further dilute any anger.

The natural breathing response when you become exasperated is to take a sharp in-breath and keep breathing in—which is how we breathe when we are angry or anxious. We naturally sigh (an extended out-breath) when we become stressed—which is nature's way of helping us destress.

You can teach this to your kids by practicing “hot chocolate breath” during playtime. Tell them they have a cup of hot chocolate in their hands, but it’s much too hot to drink. Tell them to take a deep breath in and blow their hot chocolate to cool it down. Take a deep breath through your nose and blow out your mouth in a long and slow breath into your cupped hands so they can feel their breath.

4. Take a break and let them know you love them

When we respond poorly to our children’s emotions (with anger, frustration, rudeness, annoyance, etc.) it truly rocks their world.

Our children need stability, to feel safe, to feel accepted despite their emotional outbursts—and to know they are loved in those moments difficult emotions are taking over their little bodies.

When we display anger or impatience, we teach them it’s not acceptable for them to feel uncomfortable emotions. If we walk away in anger, they misinterpret it as rejection or abandonment. When we stifle or make our children feel bad about getting upset, they may grow up to learn to repress and numb uncomfortable emotions.

Being mad doesn’t teach our children anything except, “If Mom can fly off the handle, so can I.”

If we can’t respond in LOVE in the moment, it’s absolutely OK to walk away and take a little break to calm down and postpone a response.

Just let your little ones know that you need a break and preferably let them watch you breathe it out or do jumping jacks or whatever you need to feel centered.

Be honest with your child about how you feel: “Mommy feels frustrated and she is going to get some fresh air. Mommy loves you very much and when you calm down and I calm down, then we’ll play together again. “

And as quickly as you feel calm, reconnect with your little one so you can compassionately help them through their feelings too.

5. Take peaceful pauses

The level of patience we bring to an unexpected challenge has a lot to do with how many peaceful pauses we have accumulated throughout the day.

Transforming daily mindless routines like brushing your teeth, opening the car door or sipping your cup of tea are all opportunities to infuse taking a peaceful pause. When we focus on infusing as little as one minute of peaceful resets throughout our day, we have a huge peacefulness reserve when a challenging situation hits.

Setting the intention to take 30 seconds to a minute to reset, refocus and re-energize throughout your day means you’re ready to take on any challenge with calm, clarity and focus.

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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.)


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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