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As joyous as it is to have a newborn, life at home with a wriggly, crying little human can be isolating. Finding your #momsquad is a necessity for survival. Whether you meet your mom friends through a Facebook group, listserv, or playgroup, you’ll be sure to encounter lots of women you might never have befriended had you not given birth within the same couple of weeks. Not all mom friends are created equal, however. Here are 9 moms you can expect to meet when you have a baby and how to deal with them.

1.The Straight A Student (or, The Tracy Enid Flick): She read all the parenting books so you don’t have to. She sends you and your mom group PDFs of the most important chapters. She made an excel spreadsheet of all the neighborhood Two’s programs and their application deadlines before your babies even hit the six-month mark.

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How to deal: Consider yourself lucky. Yes, she makes you feel bad about yourself as a parent but the perk is – she does the stuff you’re too tired to do. Think of her as the friend who lets you copy her homework.

2. The One And Only. She has no other mom friends (except you, oh lucky you!) You have no idea how she managed to walk the same exact blocks and visit the same exact parks you do and still not make one other social connection. A lesser person would ice her out, but you feel too guilty to abandon her.

How to deal: Bring her to one of your mom get-togethers or baby classes and introduce her to your pals. Maybe she just needs a good wingwoman. Or maybe she needs a stiff drink to loosen her up a little. Try both.

3. The Long Distance Relationship. She’s a mom friend who moved to another borough...or the suburbs. You tried to have weekly phone dates to keep in touch, but your babies are on completely different sleep schedules.

How to deal: Some of the strongest friendships are maintained via 3am texts. When you’re up with your baby while the rest of the world sleeps, send her elaborate texts to read when she’s up with hers. It isn’t the same as hearing her voice, but knowing that you’re both rocking your babies at ungodly hours makes you feel less alone and more connected to someone going through the same thing.

4. The Just Can’t Even. This mom can’t do anything. Today is never a good day for her to meet up, or even for you to come over to help her out. She cancels on you when you’re already almost at the park because she inevitably has suffered an insane diaper blowout or is on her way to the ER with yet another perceived allergic reaction.

How to deal: Don’t. You’re going through the same exact stuff, and she acts like she’s the only person on Earth with a baby. You don’t have room for this in your life right now. Let her make the effort if she wants to get together, and make it on your terms. That way, if she cancels, you’re not by yourself with a cranky baby at the out-of-the-way park that you don’t like.

5. The DryBar. This mom friend always looks like she’s just floated out of a salon. It is just unfair how glamorous she looks even after a grueling SoulCycle workout (which you don’t know how she finds the time or energy for). You’ve never seen her with a hair out of place or a chipped mani and she never, EVER wears flats.

How to deal: Take a cue from her once in a while, and remember that you, too, deserve to spend time on yourself. There is no secret to her look – she has no more minutes in the day than you. So maybe her child is busy chewing on her makeup brushes so she can get in those 5 extra minutes to beautify. Is that really so bad?

6. The Smug Mug. Her daughter is a precious angel, who, since the age of six months has been sitting sweetly at the restaurant and coloring in the lines. Your child acts like the high chair is covered in shards of glass and always manages to find the most breakable object on the table and hurl it to the floor. This friend starts most sentences with, “Well, what I always do is . . .”

How to deal: This friend means well, so be patient. She thinks her baby is well-behaved because of her awesome parenting skills. Just wait until when she has her second, and that one turns out to be Terror Child. She’ll realize some kids are who they are despite our best efforts and that they are not One Size Fits All. She’ll take it all back, then will ask you for advice on how you got through it.

7. The Badmouth. This mom has nothing nice to say about anyone, ever. She likes to blather on about how she is so non-judgmental, but what she really means is – she only reserves judgment from people who think and who parent exactly like her. You are sure she is also talking about you, especially on the days when you don’t make it to Mom Group.

How to deal: Lighten your friend load and let this one go. Her energy is toxic and if you are not careful, one day she’ll take your nervous giggle after a snarky remark she’s made about another mom for agreement on your part. Before you know it, she’ll be telling everyone that YOU also said that same mean comment she made about your mutual friend.

8. The Girls Night. Literally every week she’s sending out group emails titled, “Girls Niiiite!!!” and texting you emoticons of wine glasses and martinis every day leading up to the event. Yes, a girl’s night would be fun, ONCE IN A WHILE, but all the time? Whenever you do agree to go, all she does is get hammered, flirts with the waiter, and slurs about her husband “the d-bag.”

How to deal: Consider that perhaps she is dealing with some really serious shizz and could use a friend. Like, a real friend, who will listen to what’s going on. She might be trying to surround herself with distractions so she doesn’t have to face the problems at hand. If your attempts at a real connection fail, and you’re trying to decline the fourth Girl’s Night of the month, maybe it’s time to ask her to “unsubscribe” you from her email list.

9. Your New Ride or Die. She’s one of the best things that happened to you since having a baby. She’s the mom you put down on your baby’s emergency contact list because you trust her like a family member. You both plan on doing everything together on this child-rearing journey, so she better not get pregnant again without your first synchronizing your ovulation days.

How to deal: Do not take her for granted and do treat her problems as your own. Because this mama is THERE for you. Like, will walk through a rainstorm with her stroller to your apartment even though her kid hasn’t napped because you’re having a shit day. And bring you your favorite cupcake. You’ve suffered through lots of bad mom friends to find this one gem. And it was all worth it.

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If you had asked me a few years ago what I thought my biggest accomplishment was, I probably would have rattled off a bunch of career-related successes and financial wins. Or even something about my worldly travels. I was full of money-driven, "success" driven goals. I had it all mapped out.

I was ticking off items on my list thinking the more I did the happier I would become.

But, my sweet child, in the short three and a half years I've been a mama, 1,352 days to be exact, I have realized something. Something you need to know.

No matter what, nothing I do in life will ever be as great as being your mom.

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My accomplishments aren't measured in dollars, they are measured in hugs and kisses. And every time we say "I love you."

My accomplishments aren't measured by other people's praise, they are defined by the fact that I love you and will never stop.

My accomplishments are defined by the truth that I am with you no matter what. By the truth that I will be your biggest fan. Your protector. Your teacher. Your friend. Your confidant.

My accomplishments are defined by the truth that I will always be proud of you. That I will love you unconditionally, always and forever.

Yes, there are times when I achieve some pretty awesome things in life outside of being your mother. Moments I celebrate. Some are money-driven, some are career-driven, others are just things I've wanted to achieve and set out to do so. Am I proud of those things? Sure I am. I want to be an example to you that you can achieve anything you want to in this life. The world really is your oyster. Those moments though, never even come close to how proud I am to be your mom.

You see my child, no amount of money in the world can buy me the feeling of your little arms wrapped tight around me. The feeling of utter happiness I feel when I see you happy. No amount of money can buy the special bond we have.

My greatest accomplishment will always be you.

I won't lie, it isn't always easy. Sometimes, there are moments of exhaustion. Moments of frustration. Moments of tears. Moments where I desperately needed some 'me' time. But I will always choose you.

I know some people will not see motherhood as an accomplishment. That it is just something you do as part of life. But they don't see you like I do. Some people might wonder why I gave up a successful career to be home with you. But they don't know you like I do. They don't know that I was chosen to be your mama. That we were destined to be together. They don't know what an honor it is to be your mama.

So, my sweet child here is the truth.

You are my life's work.

You are my legacy in this world.

You, my child, are my greatest accomplishment and always will be.

[This article was previously published here.]

Life

Aside from hygienic reasons, there's something about a bath that's soothing, inviting and relaxing. Even little ones can enjoy the benefits of self-care but they often need a little bit of entertainment while they're getting cleaned. Because they are so small and constantly putting anything in their mouths, it's important to use toys that are just as safe as they are entertaining.

We gathered a few best practices from the American Academy of Pediatrics for safe bath time with infants and kids and our favorite products to keep our littles having fun in the water:

  • Use a safe, sturdy tub. Baby bathtubs can be "bucket style" for sitting upright, slanted for support, inflatable, folding and spa-style.
  • Be aware of bumps, edges and slings. Consider avoiding tubs with slings and pay close attention to any bumps or edges that pose a risk.
  • Never leave a child alone in a bathtub. Children can drown in 1 or 2 inches of water so make sure you're not stepping away from the bathroom or leaving babies in the care of another child.
  • Check water temperature. Lower the temperature of your water heater to no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burns.

Here are our favorite safe bath toys for infants and toddlers. And of course, always check (and double check) toy labels for age guidelines and hazard warnings:

Green Toys tide pool bath set

Green Toys tide pool bath set

This 7-piece bath set includes a starfish, scallop, abalone, snail, squid and jellyfish, as well as a seaweed-patterned storage bag that are packaged using recyclable materials and printed with environmentally responsible inks. Each piece is designed to pour water in a different way—scoop up water with the abalone and create a cascading waterfall with the holes along the edge, or fill the jellyfish and watch the water run down and out each of the legs.

$12.77

B&H baby thermometer

B&H baby thermometer

Ever wonder if your baby is too hot or too cold during bath time? This high and low temperature alarm includes an accurate thermometer that flashes and beeps when water is at a non-optimal temperature. It also doubles as a bath toy that complies with the Consumer Product Safety Commission's toys safety standards, so you don't have to worry if the thermometer will produce chemical reactions in water. Genius!

$16.99

Sophie la girafe so pure bath toy

Sophie la girafe so pure bath toy

Babies can have fun chewing away this Sophie bath toy because it's made of 100% natural rubber from the rubber tree's sap. The rubber ring is also easy to grip so little ones can have full confidence splashing and playing around. And don't worry, water can't get inside the toy so bacteria and mold won't form.

$23.93

Skip Hop bath puzzle

Skip Hop bath puzzle

A puzzle and bath book in one? Yes, we'll take it! The pages float in water and stick to bath tiles so you're child will be entertained the entire time they're in the water. We love that the handy stroller ring keeps it all together when they're done.

$8.00

Green Toys my first tugboat

Green Toys my first tugboat

This cool tugboat toy is safe for the earth as well as your child. It's made with 100% recycled plastic milk containers, which helps save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and is free from BPA, PVC and phthalates. It also features a wide spout which will help them scoop and pour water while exploring in the water.

$11.91

Boon marco light-up bath toy

Boon marco light-up bath toy

If you have older kids and are less concerned with them putting toys in their mouth, your kid might enjoy Marco. Put Marco in water and watch him float while the color-changing light activates. It's BPA-free, too.

$11.99

Skip Hop light up bath toy

Skip Hop light up bath toy

Featuring water-activated multicolor lights, this soft and squeezable bath toy is sure to make a splash with any child in your life. Choose from a dinosaur or unicorn with the phthalate-free materials.

$4.50

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This year's flu season has been making headlines, and there's a lot of (perfectly understandable) concern among parents about flu prevention and treatment.

The flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent your child from catching the flu. Other ways to prevent the flu from taking hold in your family include washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact with those who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, mouth and nose, and staying in good overall health—getting plenty of sleep, eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.

But what if, despite your best efforts, your child comes down with the flu? It can be hard to watch children suffer with flu symptoms such as chills, fever, aches, cough and congestion. That's why parents need a helpful, complete, scannable-at-2-am-in-panic-mode rundown of what to do for the flu, when to call the doctor and how to help little ones feel better.

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Here's what to do when you think your child has the flu:

1. How do I know if my child has the flu?

Symptoms of influenza tend to come on suddenly, and include:

  • Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater)
  • Headache
  • Muscle pains
  • Cough
  • Hives
  • Congestion
  • Runny nose

So how do you know whether it's a cold or the flu? Symptoms of the common cold may be similar to the flu, but generally are milder and include cough, congestion, runny nose and sore throat. RSV, or respiratory cold virus, is a separate condition that can cause cold-like symptoms in older children, but may cause a more severe lung disease in infants called bronchiolitis. Your best bet is to call your pediatrician for a diagnosis.

2. What should I do if my child has the flu?

The best treatment for most flu infections is what doctors call "supportive care:" encouraging fluid intake, giving fever-reducing medication such as children's acetaminophen or ibuprofen, and getting plenty of rest.

Children who are at higher risk of complications from the flu or whose symptoms started within the past 48 hours may also receive treatment with an antiviral medication. Talk with your primary care provider about your options.

3. What medicines are safe for my child to take for the flu?

Fever-reducing medications, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can generally be given to children with the flu with your pediatrician's okay. Children should not receive aspirin. Be sure to follow dosing directions for your child's age and weight.

4. What are home remedies for flu symptoms in kids?

Flu treatment is all about comfort care for symptoms—rest, fluids, fever-reducer, repeat. Keep children with the flu home from school, preschool or daycare, keep them comfortable in bed (or snuggled up on the couch), and offer fluids—and plenty of sympathy.

5. Should I try to make my child with the flu eat, or drink?

Keeping kids hydrated while they're sick with the flu is important. Encourage small, frequent sips of liquids and soup to keep up with hydration. But don't worry about forcing your child to eat a hearty meal: As your child's infection resolves, their appetite will return.

6. When should I call the doctor for my child's flu?

Parents should always call their pediatrician if they're worried, of course, and if your child has a chronic medical condition that may be worsened by the flu, call your doctor right away. Here are symptoms that warrant an immediate call to your care provider:

  • Fast breathing
  • Signs of dehydration including decreased urine output
  • Fever and cough which improved at first but have worsened
  • Fever above 103 degrees, or any fever in a child under 3 months of age

Serious signs that warrant a trip to the emergency room or a 911 call, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Labored breathing
  • Blue discoloration of the lips or face
  • Difficulty in awakening
  • Severe muscle pains
  • Seizure activity

7. How long will my child's flu last?

Most kids with the flu run a fever for 3 or 4 days with aches and chills. But the worst symptoms tend to be over within 4 days or so, with gradual improvement in respiratory symptoms after the fever resolves.

8. When is it safe for my child to go back to school or daycare after having the flu?

Most daycares and schools have specific guidelines, such as 24 hours without a fever. Children with the flu are usually contagious for 5 to 7 days after the first onset of symptoms, and are at their most contagious when their fever peaks during the first 3 days. In general, children should stay home until they're fever-free for 24 hours and respiratory symptoms have improved.

Watching your child suffer with the flu can be hard, but knowing steps you can take to help your little one feel better fast can help. Hang in there—even flu season can't last forever.

Learn + Play

If you haven't bought an Instant Pot yet, what are you waiting for, mama? It's one of those holy grail items that, once used, you're not sure how you ever lived without it. In fact, it was one of the most-purchased items from Motherly mamas last year and was life-changing for one of our editors when she finally caved and tried it out for her family.

Whether you're a chef who loves to make gourmet meals or a mama who hates cooking and needs more time in the day, it's one of those products that works for everyone.

And, the Instant Pot is on super sale today on Amazon—just $56.99.

Instant Pot 6-quart

instant pot sale

Why does it have such a cult following? Because it cuts down on cooking time and you can cook just about anything in it. It acts as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and warmer all in one. And the smart one-touch program makes cooking ribs, soups and desserts so much easier.

The 6-quart size cooks for up to six people, making it the perfect size for your family, and is 29% off today.

$56.99

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