The Mothering Force

When I think back on all of the solicited and unsolicited advice that I received about my forthcoming baby, what comes to my mind first are the things that my mother and the other wise women around me did not share. Yes, they offered up the traditional bits of advice: how to change a diaper, how to properly swaddle the baby, to rest when the baby sleeps and so forth. But it was truly the unspoken, intuitive lessons that did not come until I stepped into what I call the “mothering force” that shaped my mothering journey.

When I became pregnant for the first time, I did all the expected things. I prepared a beautiful space for the baby. I nested. I rested. I took care of my health. Then I began to notice a shift. My intuition was stronger. My sense of judgement became sharper, and my dreams more vivid. I did not fear the change. I embraced it. By embracing this enlightenment, there was a surge of confidence, creative fluidity and a tenacity that accompanied my mothering journey.

To step into motherhood is to allow a life source to flow through you and around you. A mother carries, produces and nourishes another human being, and that gifting is powerful. Here are my 5 tips to encourage new mothers to confidently embrace the unspoken new awakenings that often accompany motherhood:

1. Have no fear.

Nothing can truly prepare you for motherhood, but you must know that you have everything that you need to nurture and birth your child.

2. Listen to your body.

The body is a powerful vessel. It speaks. Listen to it.

3. It is your own, unique experience.

Do not compare your mothering experience to anyone else. We are birthing our own unique children with their own unique purposes. Solicit other moms for help, but do not play the comparing game.

4. Love your stretch marks and the new weight that you carry, because they are the markings of your body’s history. They speak: “You carried life here”.

5. Embrace your mothering intuition.

This innate knowing is there on purpose. Embrace it. Use it. Love it.

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Find out more about Lynnette here.

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


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


In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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