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On most days in our house, my 3-year-old son can be seen for some length of time wearing a dress.

Before we entered legit Disney-approved princess dress territory, my son would bring us long scarves (once used for sensory play when both my sons were infants) to fashion into royal capes, dresses or skirts. If we wrapped the scarf around his shoulders, he was a queen. If it was wrapped under his arms, like an empire-waist, he was a princess. If the dress didn’t touch the floor, however, we may as well have been dressing him as an astronaut because if it doesn’t touch the floor, it just plain isn’t royal.

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I admit that I wasn’t quick to buy him the first princess dress he asked me for -- a sparkly Elsa dress. I think that when you have a second child, you kind of hope that you’re not going to get thrown any new wrenches. I wasn’t gung-ho about having to deal with a completely new territory of parenthood with my second kid. I wanted things to be easy and predictable (or as close to that as possible).

I figured he could play “princess” with the odds and ends we had around the house already. Was there a part of me that didn’t want to encourage his inner princess from coming out? Maybe. Perhaps I was hoping we could satisfy his “royal” craving by adorning him in scarves and calling it a day (and maybe it would pass). But then one day, during a Superbowl party at a friend’s house, we noticed that our young son had been occupying himself for quite some time in our friend’s daughter’s room. When I went to check on him, I found him in an almost dreamlike state in her closet, among her vast collection of fake-gem-encrusted princess dresses and shoes. He asked if he could put one on, and even though it was three sizes too big, he wore the dress like it was tailor-made. Oh, and the shoes. The shoes! He clomped along in those too-big purple, sparkly heels, watching the way his toes peeked out from underneath the skirt of the dress and admiring how the hem trailed along the floor behind him.

This was it for me. Seeing him in his first “real” dress was the push I needed to let go of whatever was holding me back from allowing him to have his own princess dress, and engaging fully in his princess play. Every part of his being radiated happiness. He looked like he felt special. And why not? Princesses are special. Why would I deny him this feeling?

The next day, we borrowed an Elsa dress from the same friend, and he wore it to the playground. He disappeared into an imaginary world on top of a snowy mountain, singing about how “the cold never bothered him anyway.”

I posted a picture of his joy online, and immediately the calls from family came pouring in.

“I saw an interesting picture today,” quipped one member.

“You let him wear that outside of the house?” said another.

“Maybe you can just tell him we only wear dresses indoors?” suggested yet another, as if I had asked for their advice.

No. I live in Brooklyn. Boys get to wear princess dresses here, without much more than a second glance being thrown their way if they get that at all.

In preparation for our upcoming Disney trip, I considered ordering him a princess dress online. But then I thought, why not let him pick out his own right there, in the heart of it all? My mom, who was accompanying us to Disney, asked, “Can’t you encourage him to buy a prince costume? Or what about a cowboy costume?”

“He doesn’t want to be a prince. Or a cowboy,” I said. “He wants to be a princess.”

On day three at Disney, we rode the Frozen ride, and lo and behold, during our exit through the gift shop he spotted The Dress.

“Elsa dress! Elsa dress!” he shouted. He was practically hyperventilating.

We hastily tugged it over his t-shirt and jeans as soon as we paid for the poofy, sparkly number, and he commenced a heartfelt rendition of “Let it Go,” as little girls everywhere are wont to do in their Elsa dresses while standing in the middle of the fake city of Arendelle in Epcot center. Even my mom could not deny that it was pretty cute.

In the months since, we have quickly grown our collection of dresses and princess dolls. His most recent dress aquisition was Belle’s yellow gown from Beauty and Beast, and when he put it on, his older brother let out an audible gasp and said, “Wow, you look so beautiful.”

I admit, this is a lot fun for me. As a mother of two boys, I didn’t expect to be able to have a little princess in my life. I didn’t expect to get to play dolls with my son, and have little high-heeled doll shoes stuck in crevices in my couch. I certainly did not expect trails of glitter all over my house and my furniture. But I also have to remember that I can’t spoil him with every dress or doll just because I want him to know I’m ok with however he chooses to play or dress.

Some people have suggested that I prepare myself for the possibility that my son might identify as a female and that the insistence on wearing dresses could be the beginning of something much bigger for him. Maybe it is a possibility. Maybe it isn’t. Some people have asked if I am “worried”. Worry is the farthest thing from my mind, which is something that surprises me, because worry is something that comes naturally to me. I am so not worried. Far from it.

I love my son so very much. I love him as a princess. I love him not as a princess. I’ll love him if at some point he tells me he is a girl or if he tells me he likes boys. I know this because I thought I had a problem with him being a princess until I saw his face when he put on that first dress, and I thought, what I wouldn’t give to see my son this happy forever.

So I don’t know what this all means, if it means anything. What I do know is that my boy is a princess on some days, a queen on others, and other days he’s just himself.

Illustration by Amanda Crowley, for Well Rounded.

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It's time to go shopping for your little ones mama. Not long ago we shared the super sale on Hunter boots for us moms, and now the super colorful and water proof boots are on sale for kids! Perfect timing as Spring is approaching and there will be a lot of puddle jumping in our futures.

The sale is up to 50% off in select styles, but in all the colors of the rainbow! We don't know how long the sale will last so act fast because some sizes are already on low stock!


Here are our favorite styles to shop from the sale:

The original grab handle boot in light blue

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The classic gloss boot in blue

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Chelsea boot in yellow 

Original Big Kids' Gloss Chelsea Boots

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The original grab handle boot in pink

Original Kids First Classic Grab Handle

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Jessica Simpson's life seems perfect. She has three beautiful kids, a wildly successful career, a seemingly solid marriage...she has it all, at least as far as we can see. But recent revelations prove that no one really knows what anyone else is secretly dealing with—and Jessica, by her own admission, has been struggling with alcohol issues.

The singer-turned-business-woman recently sat down with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, and it will air on NBC's TODAY Wednesday morning.

"I had started a spiral and I couldn't catch up with myself…and that was with alcohol," Jessica explained. "I would say it openly to everyone. 'I know. I know, I'll stop soon. I'll cut back'," Jessica continued when asked if she realized things were getting out of control. "For me to cut back, like I'm an all or nothing girl, and so I didn't know it was a problem until it was...I completely didn't recognize myself…I always had a glitter cup. It was always filled to the rim with alcohol."

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She's hardly alone. The rise of #winemom phenomenon is well documented and many parents struggle with substance abuse problems. But Simpson's story proves there is a way to get your life back.

Simpson quit drinking in 2017 after she found herself unable to get her kids ready for a Halloween party. She says she'd started drinking before 7:30 in the morning, before accompanying her husband, Eric Johnson, to a school assembly for their oldest daughter. Later that night she was unable to get her kids dressed in their Halloween costumes. The next morning she was so ashamed. Feeling like she had failed her kids she slept until they left the house, then got up and drank some more.

That episode was her tipping point. She quit drinking (as did her husband, Eric Johnson, who supports her in her sobriety.)



As parents, we know how overwhelming the demands can be...and how easy it is to sink into habits that don't ultimately serve us well. For Jessica, the way to heal was to sever her relationship with alcohol.

"I had to give [drinking] up," Jessica said. "I'm not going to miss another day. I'm not going to miss another Halloween. I'm not going to miss another Christmas. I'm going to be present."

News

Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.

$150

Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌

$34.99

Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.

$99.99

Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.

$178

Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.

$34.99

JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.

$99.99

Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.

$69.95

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!

$99

Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.

$30.99

Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.

$159.99

Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉

$69.99

Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.

$159.99

Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.

$90

Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.

$159

Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.

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

Shop

Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.

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So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

Life
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