Lifestyle

Work-From-Home Baby Registry Essentials

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The thing about motherhood is that there is no one way to do it. Each day we have to make decisions big and small that affect our households for better or worse. And one of the first biggies as a new mom is the decision to go back to work or stay home and be a full-time caretaker for your baby. Or at least it used to be that cut and dry. More and more we’re meeting moms trying to find flexible jobs or pioneering by starting their own business, in hopes of creating a schedule that makes sense for them.

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Meet the work-at-home mom. From the outside, it may seem like she’s living the dream, and she kind of is. But she’s also striving to strike that perfect balance between baby and business, and probably working her fingers to the bone before baby wakes, during naptime, after bedtime, and basically every other second she has free in her day. Basically this mama is on 24/7.

To give her a helping hand (because we sure know she can use one), we’ve partnered with Skip Hop to create a baby registry filled with the best gear to balance mom life and work life while keeping her sanity intact (most days).

Skip Hop Uplift Multi-Level Baby Bouncer

We know it’s hard to put your newborn down, but when duty calls, you can feel good about unloading your little one into Skip Hop’s cozy Uplift bouncer. Use it as a traditional floor bouncer or elevate your baby to sofa (or desk!) height with just the turn of a knob. It’s got great tech features like vibration to soothing sounds, and blends in well with your living room (ahem we mean, office) decor. Buy it here.

MochiThings: Seize the Day Daily Planner

We hate to be the ones to tell you but that thing you heard about “mommy brain” is totally real. Get in the habit of writing things down. Like, everything. From doctor’s visits to meetings, events and and more get yourself a great organizer to keep your life in order. This one by MochiThings even has enough room for you to jot down those precious baby moments you never want to forget. Buy it here.

Tula Baby Carrier

Being a work-from-home mom doesn’t mean you’ll never leave your humble abode. Whether you’re finally ready to meet your new mom friend or need a few shots of espresso, you’ll have to get out there at some point, mama. Make sure you’re equipped with a great baby carrier before you do. This Tula carrier provides an ergonomic M-position seat supporting optimal development for baby’s body. The fact that it’s adorable is just a bonus. Buy it here.

Withings Smart Baby Monitor

Keep an eye on your little’s every move with this genius baby monitor by Withings. It will help you create the best sleeping environment for baby’s nap times by keeping you informed of the baby’s room temperature and humidity, it comes with 7 songs to lull your baby to sleep, and it allows you to speak to your baby with just the push of a button. Buy it here.

Skip Hop Explore & More Activity Center

Once your babe is mobile (and yes, rolling counts!), you’ll need some safe and exciting activities to occupy him during that uber-important conference call. Skip Hop’s modern activity center has got you covered from four months to toddler, letting your little one sit, swivel & bounce, then cruise and play while standing, and finally use it as an activity table (it converts!). Buy it here.

Munchery Gift Card

As much as we believe that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to, some days you just can’t do it all. And you shouldn’t. You need to listen to your body. And when it says slow down, do it. So, once you’ve registered for your baby gear, let your friends or family spoil you by accepting a home-cooked meal, or better yet, ask for a gift card for a delicious almost home-cooked meal of your choice by Munchery. You can register for one on babylist or buy it here.

Honest Diapers Bundle

What did moms do before the internet? We suspect there were a lot of parents screaming “If only my diapers could arrive at my door every month without me having to think!” Thankfully none of us have to be subjected to that cruelty anymore. The Honest Company offers monthly diaper and wipe bundle deliveries nationwide. The diapers are adorable the wipes are top notch and all Honest Co products are healthy and sustainable. What else do you need? Buy it here.

Babyganics All-Purpose Wipes

As a working mom you’ll realize quickly that simplicity is key. And that all-purpose wipes are possibly one of the best inventions known to mankind. Yep, that’s right: you can clean just about anything with these wipes, including your baby gear, because Babyganics all-purpose wipes are made with only the safest ingredients. Buy it here.

Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breastpump

If you’re a work-from-home mom who plans to breastfeed you might think that a pump is unnecessary, but chances are you’ll have to schedule meetings (or even long conference calls!) that don’t involve baby. And when you do, you want to be prepared with back-up breastmilk for baby to consume while you’re away. This one by Medela will be in it for the long haul. Register for it here.

Skip Hop Highline Diaper Bag

When the line between work and play is blurred, your diaper bag often has to do double duty. Skip Hop’s Highline Diaper Bag has got all the functional details make Skip Hop the go-to for diaper bags (hidden bottle pockets, tucked-away changing pad, stroller clips), but it’s also smart and chic for those working mama meetings you’ll inevitably find time to squeeze in. Buy it here.

Bugaboo Runner

With most of your day spent working on your laptop, changing diapers, feeding, playing and more, it’s important to reset by doing something healthy for you. On some days that means a nutrient-packed lunch and on others, it’s a solid run. Even if baby has to come along. The sleek and high-design Bugaboo Runner will help you get on track. Buy it here.

Bugaboo Smartphone Holder

Getting out with baby doesn’t mean you have to be off the grid (although you should totally be if you want to!). For those days you just have to do it all, this smartphone holder will help you keep notified at a glance while on-the-go. Buy it here.

Bravado Designs

If you plan on breastfeeding, the proper nursing bra is a must. Stay comfortable at home and confident at your coffee meetings with this body silk seamless bra by Bravado, which has full access and clips that actually stay closed. Buy it here.

Hevea Round Crown Pacifier

One of the hardest things about being a stay at home mom is figuring out that nap/work balance so you can schedule calls accordingly. For those days the nap vibes just aren’t working in your favor, put a plug in it -- ahem, we mean soothe your baby -- with a natural pacifier like this Hevea one. Buy it here.

Little Unicorn Cotton Swaddles

Keep your newborn cozy with these beautifully designed swaddles by Little Unicorn. Your instagram followers will go gaga over them. Buy it here.

*This post was sponsored by Skip Hop. Register for these Skip Hop products and others at Amazon.com, Buybuybaby.com, and Babiesrus.com.

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It's finally 2020. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few days into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Ashley Graham is a mama! 🎉

A new chapter is unfolding for model and podcaster Ashley Graham, who just announced she and her husband Justin Ervin have met their baby.

The baby arrived Saturday, according to a post made on Graham's Instagram Stories.

"At 6:00pm on Saturday our lives changed for the better," reads the Story. "Thank you for all your love and support during this incredible time."

Graham previously announced that she and Ervin were expecting a son. They initially announced the pregnancy on their ninth wedding anniversary.

Congratulations to Ashley and Justin!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden just welcomed a baby girl! 🎉

Surprise! Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden are ringing in the New Year as first-time parents!

"Happy New Year from the Maddens!" reads a birth announcement posted to both Diaz and Madden's Instagram accounts. "We are so happy, blessed and grateful to begin this new decade by announcing the birth of our daughter, Raddix Madden. She has instantly captured our hearts and completed our family."

Raddix Madden is the first child for Diaz, 47, and Madden, 40.

The couple say they won't be posting any pictures of their daughter on social media as they "feel a strong instinct to protect our little one's privacy."

Congratulations to the Maddens! 🎉

Dylan Dreyer of 'Today' is a mom of 2! 

Today meteorologist Dylan Dreyer and her husband Brian Fichera, welcomed their second child, Oliver George Fichera, the first week of January 2020. Oliver joins his big brother Calvin to make the family a foursome.

Dreyer is still recovering from birth but her voice was on TV this week when she called into her show with an update on her new family. "I feel good," Dylan told her colleagues. "I just feel so happy and so blessed."

Caterina Scorsone of 'Grey's Anatomy' now has 3 girls!

Caterina Scorsone of Grey's Anatomy has so much to be thankful for in 2020: She's now a mom of three! The actress announced the birth of her daughter via Instagram, noting that her baby's name is Arwen.

Arwen joins big sisters Eliza, 7, and 3-year-old Paloma, who has Down syndrome. Speaking on The Motherly Podcast last year, Scorsone explained how Paloma's diagnosis made her "whole concept of what motherhood was had to shift."

It is likely shifting again, as any mama who has gone from two kids to three knows.

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When it comes to taking care of the baby and the house, modern dads say they want to be equal partners.

But when Saturday arrives, research shows men are often relaxing while women are the ones doing unpaid housework with a “leisure time" discrepancy of more than 50 minutes a day on the weekends.

The study revealed that women were more likely than men to spend their weekends watching kids or performing housework.

So after a long week of watching kids or clocking hours on the job, what does mom do more of than dad? Work.

Claire M. Kamp Dush, Ph.D., an associate professor of human sciences at The Ohio State University, and lead author of the new study, says she is hopeful we can all find more balance. It's just going to take some hard discussions—and an understanding that there's more than one way to load a dishwasher or dress a baby.

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The study published in the journal Sex Roles saw Ohio State researchers tracking how 52 dual-income couples spent their time on a minute-by-minute basis as they welcomed their first child. The participating couples kept time diaries for workdays and non-workdays during the third trimester and for about three months after the baby's birth.

The researchers expected to see a lot of entries where mom and dad were doing childcare or housework together, but they didn't.

“Men actually increased their time doing leisure while she was doing work across the transition of parenthood," Kamp Dush shares. “It actually got worse once the baby was there."

According to Kamp Dush, there are a couple of factors behind this disappointing dynamic.

“One thing that's going on is women have a lot of societal pressure put on them to be perfect mothers. So if something is less than perfect with the baby or the house, the consequences are coming back on them," she explains, adding this pressure to have everything done to high standards may lead some moms to micromanage their partners.

If a dad is slacking, Kamp Dush suggests moms ascertain what his motivations are. Often, she says the solution may be as simple as empowering him to do things his own way. (Even if it isn't the outfit you would have picked for the baby...)

“It may also be the case that he just doesn't want to do it and he enjoys his leisure time," says Kamp Dush. If that's the case, she suggests calmly explaining the cost that his rest requires you pay. That may prompt him to do a bit more because, as Kamp Dush says, “He might also enjoy having a happier spouse and co-parent."

The earlier you can have these conversations, the better

Unaddressed resentment in relationships tends to build overtime, which is why it's essential to check in on how you (and your partner) are feeling early and often.

Kamp Dush suggests moms with heavy mental loads write down the tasks and duties they're dealing with. Then rip the list in half and hand it to dad. Couples can certainly negotiate the listed responsibilities, but the important thing is that they're not all on mom.

“Then, you're going to have to let it go," she explains. “Men know how to do these things. As women, we need to just let them do it."

Dads need to do 50 minutes more of unpaid work

The gender disparity in unpaid work hurts our careers, our families and our relationships, but it doesn't have to.

According to the Promundo's State of the World's Fathers' report, if men did 50 minutes of unpaid work a day we could close the gender gap.

"We need men to do our share. Fifty minutes more to relieve women of 50 minutes less would get us really close to equal," the president and CEO of Promundo, Gary Barker, tells Motherly.

When dads are more empowered and moms feel like their household responsibilities are more balanced, the whole family is going to be better off.

[A version of this post was first published July 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

News

For new mamas back to sitting behind their desks at work some six weeks (or fewer) after their babies are born, the institutionalized parental leave policy in Denmark is the stuff of daydreams: Over in that Scandinavian paradise, parents are granted 52 weeks of paid leave to divide between them.

There's no denying this is much, much better than the state of parental leave in the United States, but it isn't quite as perfect as it seems from the outside. According to Denmark's Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, women take an average 93% of leave allotted to couples. And when they do return to work, mothers' wages suffer both in comparison to men and women without children.

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The good news is that it seems the solution to this gender income gap is something we—the mothers of today, even here in America—can do something about.

A new paper from the US National Bureau of Economic Research that examined Danish administration information from 1980 to 2013 found the motherhood penalty “creates a gender gap in earnings of around 20% in the long run," which is comparable to the gap in the United States.

What's more, the income discrepancy only increases for each child a family in Denmark has: If a woman has four children, her income is only $0.60 to every dollar a man makes—10 years down the road.

While this indicates paid parental leave alone may not be the panacea for the gender income gap, the researchers suggest that changing the way we think about roles in the workplaces and homes could help—at least when it comes to the next generation.

“As a possible explanation for the persistence of child penalties, we show that they are transmitted through generations, from parents to daughters (but not sons)," the researchers note, explaining that the more a daughter's mother worked while the girl was growing up, the less the daughter's income was affected when she became a mother.

“Women tend to adopt a balance of paid work and childcare that is correlated with the one they saw their mother strike when they were growing up," Henrik Kleven, a Princeton economist and the paper's lead author, tells Quartz At Work.

What this looks like in practice is splitting household responsibilities from the get-go and encouraging fathers to take more leave. (In Sweden, where fathers are penalized for not taking advantage of paternity leave, women's earning rose an average 7% for each month of leave that men took.)

According to the State of the World's Fathers' report, produced by Promundo (a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging men and boys in gender equality in partnership with Dove Men+Care) 85% of dads surveyed in the United States, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan and the Netherlands want to take paternity leave, and yet less than 50% of fathers take as much time as their country's policy allows, and social norms, financial pressures and a lack of support from their managers are all factors.

The report also found that if fathers are able to do just under an hour of unpaid work per day, mothers can cut their unpaid labor time by the same amount.

"We need men to do our share. Fifty minutes more to relieve women of 50 minutes less would get us really close to equal," the president and CEO of Promundo, Gary Barker, told Motherly.

This may help shift us toward more income equality today—and, as the research shows, our daughters will really be able to reap the benefits.

[A version of this post was first published January 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

News

There's no doubt: It's a new parenting era than 20 or 30 years ago.

Now faced with questions about how to limit screen time, when to give children phones and how to protect them from cyber threats, there are simply some issues that today's parents can't get advice on from our own parents.

Does that mean it's harder to be a parent today than when we were growing up? Yes, say 88% of young moms and dads.

According to a BPI Network survey of 2,000 parents in the United States and Canada, the leading reasons parenting feels harder than ever include: social media distractions, challenges with two working parents, emotional or behavioral dysfunction, peer competition or bullying, and violence and safety concerns in schools.

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Of course, most of us weren't fully aware of the challenges our parents faced when we were young—such as the fact they couldn't readily call on their own moms for advice lest they wanted to rack up major long-distance bills and couldn't have anything in the world delivered to their doorsteps within two days.

Regardless of whether it's true, the perception that parenting is harder than ever has contributed to some two-thirds of the respondents saying they've experienced "parental burnout."

"Parental burnout is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion," says Neil D. Brown, LCSW, author of Ending The Parent-Teen Control Battle. "It leaves parents feeling chronically fatigued… and it can lead to depression, chronic anxiety and illness."

With 40% reporting parental burnout has "significantly" affected their qualities of life and another 49% saying it has "somewhat" affected their wellbeing, it's time employers take a vested interest in addressing the issue, says Dave Murray, Chief Strategy and Research Officer at the BPI Network.

"It is staggering to look at the incidence of [parental burnout] symptoms among working parents in America and understand the implications this has for added employee burden, cost, concern and downtime," Murray says, adding that counseling services to promote healthy parenting should "certainly" be among the benefits employers look to offer.

Many working parents are also hopeful that their employers will recognize the importance of practices that support healthy balance between work and life—with 78% of respondents to Motherly's 2018 State of Motherhood survey saying they believe it's possible to combine careers and motherhood. Of those who worked outside the home, the biggest changes they would like to see include subsidies for childcare or on-site childcare, paid maternity leave and more flexible schedules.

In our second annual State of Motherhood Survey in 2019 just over half (51%) of mothers said "I feel discouraged: it's extremely challenging managing trade-offs" associated with combining a career and motherhood.

The consequences of unaddressed parental burnout have an unfortunate way of spilling over to other members of the family. According to a recent study published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, a sample of 1,551 parents suggested "parental burnout has a statistically similar effect to job burnout on addictions and sleep problems, a stronger effect on couples' conflicts and partner estrangement mindset and a specific effect on child-related outcomes (neglect and violence) and escape and suicidal ideation."

While employers have a stake in addressing this issue, there's also a lot that individuals can do—like starting by cutting ourselves a break on self-imposed expectations. As research has shown, the more grace we give ourselves and others in the ways we parent, the less prone we ultimately are to burning out.

And while we've heard this all before, it's also worth remembering just how important it is to take time for ourselves. "We must have regular practices to refuel," LMHC Jasmin Terrany previously told Motherly. "We don't need to feel guilty about taking this time for ourselves—our kids will not only learn that self-care is essential, but when we are good, they will be good."

Then don't feel one ounce of guilt about using that time to call someone long-distance or place another Amazon Prime delivery so you can remember that parenting in this day and age does have its perks.

[A version of this post was originally published July 29, 2018. It has been updated.]

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