A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Raising children can present some rude awakenings. Like the time my daughter pretended to be a boy so that “she can show me how to use the tools.” No one ever said girls can’t use tools—but she had never actually seen me use tools (eek).

Children absorb everything—relationship habits are high on the list. They are not just learning how to interact with their future partner, but also their peers, and of course you.

It takes a lot of thought to create a relationship that is not only beneficial for the individuals in it, but one that can have a positive impact on the children that view it daily.

Here are some essentials for any relationship that your kids need to see:

1. Communicate
Talk about your feelings, your thoughts and your wishes. Do not assume that your partner knows what you are thinking or feeling. And do not assume that your thoughts, feelings, and wishes are not as important. Your child is watching and learning from you… the both of you.

2. Speak kindly
Not only must you practice communicating, but you must practice doing so kindly. It’s obvious that you don’t want to call your partner names, but children hear your tone too. If you are not in a calm state, then postpone the talking so that you can model how to manage feelings for your child. Also, talking harshly to one another can make it more likely for your child to do so with you or your partner.

3. Empathize
It is easy to get stuck in why things need to be our way. Being curious about your partner’s perspective may not only actually improve your relationship, but also shows your child empathy and advanced problem-solving abilities.

4. Act kindly
Engaging in acts of kindness shows your child that love is more than just words. You are not doing this to receive anything in return, but truly because you care about your partner.

Putting up sweet sentiments on the bathroom mirror, giving a hug when your partner is feeling down, or perhaps sharing the last piece of chocolate. Your child will see your action and can see how your partner feels in response. Sometimes it helps to highlight these things for younger children (e.g., “mommy was so happy to see that we made her a card”).

5. Share responsibility
It’s common for either person in a relationship to feel like they are carrying the majority of the workload, so here is where communication, empathy and speaking kindly come in hand to resolve this issue. You will then be able to model for your child what shared responsibility looks like and hopefully it doesn't all fit into gender stereotypes. (Trust me when I say I will be taking out the toolbox soon).

6. Learn from each other
Showing your children that you still each have room to grow and that you can support each other in this not only demonstrates humility, but also teamwork. Your child will be more likely to be a team player when it comes to working on class projects or making a goal in soccer practice.

7. Set your own goals
Create goals or engage in hobbies outside of the relationship to show your child that you are each unique and can have differences, yet always love each other.

8. Empower each other
You and your partner can help each other grow by gently challenging and supporting each other to create positive changes and fulfill even life-long dreams. How beautiful would it be to show your children that you have each other’s backs?

9. Family hug
Sometimes young children feel excluded from the love between parents and it can be hard for them to know that they are still loved when their parents are affectionate towards one another. Open up some hugs to a group hug. Let them know that the love you have for your partner has extended to them.

10. Apologize
When we can genuinely say “sorry” we are really showing how to be humble and that it is okay to not do everything ‘perfectly.’ This is something that no forced apology can ever teach a child.

Role modeling is one of the most powerful tools you have in guiding your child. If you are not currently where you want to be in your relationship, then consider what is the most important area to focus on and start with that. Sometimes a little therapy can go a long way, too, with understanding our own barriers and how our own past has affected us.

Comments20x20 ExportCreated with Sketch.
Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

Summer heat has a way of making the house feel smaller, more congested, with less room for the air to circulate. And there's nothing like heat to make me want to strip down, cool off and lighten my load. So, motivation in three digits, now that school is back in, it's time to do a purge.

Forget the spring clean—who has time for that? Those last few months of the school year are busier than the first. And summer's warm weather entices our family outdoors on the weekends which doesn't leave much time for re-organizing.

So, I seize the opportunity when my kids are back in school to enter my zone.

I love throwing open every closet and cupboard door, pulling out anything and everything that doesn't fit our bodies or our lives. Each joyless item purged peels off another oppressive layer of "not me" or "not us."

Stuff can obscure what really makes us feel light, capable and competent. Stuff can stem the flow of what makes our lives work.

With my kids back in school, I am energized, motivated by the thought that I have the space to be in my head with no interruptions. No refereeing. No snacks. No naps… I am tossing. I am folding. I am stacking. I am organizing. I don't worry about having to stop. The neat-freak in me is having a field day.

Passing bedroom doors, ajar and flashing their naughty bits of chaos at me, is more than I can handle in terms of temptation. I have to be careful, though, because I can get on a roll. Taking to my kids' rooms I tread carefully, always aware that what I think is junk can actually be their treasure.

But I usually have a good sense for what has been abandoned or invisible in plain sight for the lack of movement or the accumulation of dust. Anything that fits the description gets relegated to a box in the garage where it is on standby in case its absence is noticed and a meltdown has ensued so the crisis can be averted. Either way, it's a victory.

Oh, it's quiet. So, so quiet. And I can think it through…

Do we really need all this stuff?

Will my son really notice if I toss all this stuff?

Will my daughter be heartbroken if I donate all this stuff?

Will I really miss this dress I wore three years ago that barely fit my waist then and had me holding in my tummy all night, and that I for sure cannot zip today?

Can we live without it all? All. This. Stuff?

For me, the fall purge always gets me wondering, where in the world does all this stuff come from? So with the beginning of the school year upon us, I vow to create a new mindset to evaluate everything that enters my home from now on, so there will be so much less stuff.

I vow to really think about objects before they enter my home…

…to evaluate what is really useful,

...to consider when it would be useful,

...to imagine where it would be useful,

...to remember why it may be useful,

…to decide how to use it in more than one way,

... so that all this stuff won't get in the way of what really matters—time and attention for my kids and our lives as a new year reveals more layers of the real stuff—what my kids are made of.

Bring it on.

You might also like:

In the moments after we give birth, we desperately want to hear our baby cry. In the middle of the night a few months later it's no longer exactly music to our ears, but those cries aren't just telling us that baby needs a night feeding: They're also giving us a hint at what our children may sound like as kindergarteners, and adults.

New research published in the journal Biology Letters suggests the pitch of a 4-month-old's cry predicts the pitch they'll use to ask for more cookies at age five and maybe even later on as adults.

The study saw 2 to 5-month olds recorded while crying. Five years later, the researchers hit record again and chatted with the now speaking children. Their findings, combined with previous work on the subject, suggest it's possible to figure out what a baby's voice will sound like later in life, and that the pitch of our adult voices may be traceable back to the time we spend in utero. Further studies are needed, but scientists are very interested in how factors before birth can impact decades later.

"In utero, you have a lot of different things that can alter and impact your life — not only as a baby, but also at an adult stage," one of the authors of the study, Nicolas Mathevon, told the New York Times.

The New York Times also spoke with Carolyn Hodges, an assistant professor of anthropology at Boston University who was not involved in the study. According to Hodges, while voice pitch may not seem like a big deal, it impacts how we perceive people in very real ways.

Voice pitch is a factor in how attractive we think people are, how trustworthy. But why we find certain pitches more or less appealing isn't known. "There aren't many studies that address these questions, so that makes this research especially intriguing," Hodges said, adding that it "suggests that individual differences in voice pitch may have their origins very, very early in development."

So the pitch of that midnight cry may have been determined months ago, and it may determine part of your child's future, too. There are still so many things we don't know, but as parents we do know one thing: Our babies cries (as much as we don't want to hear them all the time) really are something special.

You might also like:

For many years, Serena Williams seemed as perfect as a person could be. But now, Serena is a mom. She's imperfect and she's being honest about that and we're so grateful.

On the cover of TIME, Williams owns her imperfection, and in doing so, she gives mothers around the world permission to be as real as she is being.

"Nothing about me right now is perfect," she told TIME. "But I'm perfectly Serena."

The interview sheds light on Williams' recovery from her traumatic birth experience, and how her mental health has been impacted by the challenges she's faced in going from a medical emergency to new motherhood and back to the tennis court all within one year.

"Some days, I cry. I'm really sad. I've had meltdowns. It's been a really tough 11 months," she said.

It would have been easy for Williams to keep her struggles to herself over the last year. She didn't have to tell the world about her life-threatening birth experience, her decision to stop breastfeeding, her maternal mental health, how she missed her daughter's first steps, or any of it. But she did share these experiences, and in doing so she started incredibly powerful conversations on a national stage.

After Serena lost at Wimbledon this summer, she told the mothers watching around the world that she was playing for them. "And I tried," she said through tears. "I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

In the TIME cover story, what happened before that match, where Williams lost to Angelique Kerber was revealed. TIME reports that Williams checked her phone about 10 minutes before the match, and learned, via Instagram, that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003 is out on parole.

"I couldn't shake it out of my mind," Serena says. "It was hard because all I think about is her kids," she says. She was playing for all the mothers out there, but she had a specific mother on her mind during that historic match.

Williams' performance at Wimbledon wasn't perfect, and neither is she, as she clearly states on the cover of time. But motherhood isn't perfect either. It's okay to admit that. Thanks, Serena, for showing us how.

You might also like:

There are some mornings where I wake up and I'm ready for the day. My alarm goes off and I pop out of bed and hum along as I make breakfast before my son wakes up. But then there are days where I just want 10 more minutes to sleep in. Or breakfast feels impossible to make because all our time has run out. Or I just feel overwhelmed and unprepared.

Those are the mornings I stare at the fridge and think, Can someone else just make breakfast, please?

Enter: make-ahead breakfasts. We spoke to the geniuses at Pinterest and they shared their top 10 pins all around this beautiful, planned-ahead treat. Here they are.

(You're welcome, future self.)

1. Make-ahead breakfast enchiladas


Created by Bellyful

I'd make these for dinner, too.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.