While zooming on the road of parenthood there comes a point when a vast amount of time is spent in the bathroom. I'm talking about potty training. I wish someone had told me: Olivia, approximately a dozen times a day you will find yourself kneeling before your cherub perched atop a porcelain throne. Waiting, waiting and waiting some more. This can get tricky when you are a city dwelling family where there's usually just one potty for multiple behinds.

How can all this time spent in the bathroom be made more enjoyable? Surely, we can get the cutest Pooh Bear potty seats with matching step stools. Or we can buy the softest toilet paper, soothing wipes and aromatherapy foaming soaps. We can even bring an entire library into the bathroom, plus an iPad! But is there a single product that will make a difference for every butt in the house...and dare I say each set of nostrils?



What if every poop smelled like a day in the country? We aren't talking suffocating air fresheners or choking potpourris poorly concealing poop's stronghold. I'm talking a meadow wrapped in a rainbow dancing in your nose. Yes, family of a toddler, we’ve found it: p o r c e l a i n™. Spritz p o r c e l a i n™ in the toilet water beforehand and It eliminates and neutralizes terrifying toilet odors. The formula creates an odor barrier on the water, then actively neutralizes the gases released in the water by poop (and even pee). Choose from five fragrances to help mask and erase the gross gases in the air. Everyone will wonder: Did I just dance on a mountain top? No, you just used my bathroom.

Buy here.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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