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Being kind vs. being right: 5 tips to fight fair and know when to surrender

Our love expert helped us gain some perspective on when we should end that terrible fight and strategies to do so.

Being kind vs. being right: 5 tips to fight fair and know when to surrender

Marriage can’t be all romance and babymaking all the time now can it ladies?


If we allowed ‘outsiders’ a sneak peek into our marriage, at some point or another they’d get a real show. And we’re not talking a sexy show (not this time, anyway.) We’re talking a loud yelling-eye rolling-maybe even some curse words argument. We may not be proud of this battle behavior, but these fights happen. And when they do, it’s good to be prepared in knowing when to surrender. Sometimes you have to table the discussion for a bit, or simply take the high road and say, “You’re right. I’m sorry.” ✌️

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We talked to our love expert, Vienna Pharaon, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at Mindful Marriage & Family Therapy in New York City to get some perspective on when we should end that terrible fight and strategies to do so.

1. Take an adult time out.

Either one of you can call it, but whoever asks for the time out has to schedule the new time that you come back together to discuss the issue. Time outs are important because once the fight has escalated to a certain point, continuing to talk (or fight) serves no healthy purpose. Make it clear that this is important to you, you are not abandoning your partner, and that you will be coming back to this conversation at another time.

2. Translate the content you’re fighting about into the emotions behind it.

While you’re on the time out consider what it is you’re actually fighting about. “I hate that you leave the towel on the bed” might actually be “I feel really unimportant when you leave the towel on the bed. It makes me feel like I don’t matter to you.” We then turn that into “I want to feel heard and prioritized.”

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3. Think about where and when you have felt this way before.

What’s the wound that’s getting triggered? Forget the content of the fight for a second and focus on the hurt—did you feel unimportant or unheard growing up? With whom has that played out before?

Think about what it means to you to be right, and what it means to you to be wrong. What are the messages you received growing up from family, friends, and society etc. around being right and wrong, and how does that impact the way you fight in your relationship?

It’s important to understand what it is we’re avoiding when we’re pushing back on being “wrong”. What happens if we’re wrong? Knowing that helps inform us as to why we fight back on it so much. If “wrong” means we’re a failure, than the drive behind “winning” the fight winds up being pretty strong.

People who have a hard time backing down from being “right” generally struggle with their own narratives around what it means to them to lose. They’re not trying to avoid hearing their partner, they’re trying to avoid hearing their own negative narrative that says “you’re a failure” (or something along those lines.)

4. Write it out.

After you’ve taken some time to reflect, write out what it is you want your partner to understand after you’ve considered #2 and #3. Complete this quick exercise by answering these statements:

“I’m hurting because I feel _________.”

“This reminds me of when I felt this way with/when _________.”

“What I really want is to be/feel _________.”

5. Listen to understand instead of listening to respond.

When you come back to discuss the issue or topic at hand, be prepared to do it calmly. Take turns talking. When your partner is talking, practice active listening; really focus on what the other person is saying. Don’t let yourself get distracted by other thoughts in your head. Don’t try to prepare a rebuttal. Make eye contact. Feel free to summarize what you heard when they are done speaking or ask any questions to clarify points you didn’t fully understand.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Want to be a happy parent? Let go of these 15 things to find joy

5. Your need to look perfect. There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. Embrace your imperfections.

Because parenthood is challenging, we can sometimes forget how to just be happy in the midst of it all.

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