Dear husband: I don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day—really

You know what we don't need right now? More pressure.

Dear husband: I don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day—really

[Editor's note: This story is a letter from a woman to her husband. While this is one example of one type of relationship, we understand, appreciate and celebrate that relationships come in all forms and configurations.]

Dear amazing, wonderful, romantic husband,

You are all of these things and more on a daily basis—because, yes, my idea of “romance" these days is when you volunteer to change the baby's umpteenth dirty diaper. Hubba-hubba.

You deserve to hear me say this. And, to be honest, I depend on the moral support I get from you, too. With two young kids, we're deep in the trenches of parenting and it sometimes feel like the only way we're keeping afloat is on love. (And lots of coffee. Which reminds me, the sexiest thing I've seen all year was when you set up that new espresso machine. ?)


But, you know what we don't need right now? More pressure.

That's why I'm really, truly, 100% giving you permission to skip Valentine's Day this year.

I know, I know. This sounds like the set-up for a sitcom. In fact, it is the set-up for a sitcom: While crashed on the couch at the end of a busy day this week, I caught an episode of Matt LeBlanc's new-to-me show, Man with a Plan.

In it, his wife said exactly what I just did—only she not-so-secretly wanted him to lavish romance and gifts on her. Chaos and hilarity ensued. Predictably, all was well again by the end of the 30 minutes.

As much as it made for some enjoyable TV-viewing, that's not what I want.

You and I are here in real life, with real day-to-day challenges that accompany raising two little ones. And you know what I need more than another box of chocolate or fancy meal out? For you to continue showing up all the time, each day, as much as you already do. Besides, I can (and will) buy those chocolates for myself. ?

For some people in our shoes, celebrating Valentine's Day and being on their game the rest of the time may not be mutually exclusive.

But, speaking for myself, the pressure of one more thing on my to-do list may very well be the task that pushes me over the edge. Kidding, kidding—but let's not test it anyway, okay?

Here's my bigger point: You know what comes after Valentine's Day? February 15. I will be one happy girl if we can enjoy that day together, too, rather than feel burnt out from putting the emphasis on just one day.

So this year, let's make it past the kids' bedtime and then kick back and enjoy. If we're feeling crazy, maybe we can even have a glass of wine while sitting at the table instead of moving straight into the Netflix and chill portion of the evening.

While we're sitting there, I can guarantee you there will be a moment when I catch a glimpse of you—and see you not as the guy who used to make reservations at my favorite restaurant weeks in advance of Valentine's Day and then pick me up with a bouquet of flowers in his hand.

I'll see you as someone even more amazing than that:

The guy I fell in love with at first sight during a college party eight years ago.

The husband who was all I really needed through three major moves and two new babies.

The dad who gets up with our toddler at 6 a.m. and has some of that aforementioned espresso ready for me when I get up with the baby an hour later.

The best friend who loves me—despite the spit-up stains and breakdowns.

And the person who does those things during all 365 days of the year.

As those thoughts cross my mind, my heart will (unfathomably) find a way to love you even more. Best of all, it will do the same thing the next day, too. ❤️

These are only the vitamins I give my children and here's why

It's hard to say who loves these more—my kids or me.

When I became a mama five years ago, I didn't put too much thought into whether my son was getting the right vitamins and minerals. From breastfeeding to steaming and pureeing his first bites of solid food, I was confident I was giving him everything to support his growth and development.

But then the toddler years—and the suddenly picky palate that accompanied them—came along. Between that challenge and two additional children in the mix… well, I knew my oldest son's eating plan was falling short in some vitamin and mineral categories.

I also knew how quickly he was growing, so I wanted to make sure he was getting the nutrients he needed (even on those days when he said "no, thank you" to any veggie I offered).

So when I discovered the new line of children's supplements from Nature's Way®, it felt like a serious weight off my chest. Thanks to supplements that support my children's musculoskeletal growth, their brain function, their immune systems, their eyes and more, I'm taken back to that simpler time when I was so confident my kids' vitamin needs were met.*

It wasn't just the variety of supplements offered by Nature's Way that won me over: As a vegetarian mama, I'm the picky one in the family when it comes to scanning labels and making sure they meet our standards. The trick is that most gummy vitamins are made with gelatin, which is not vegetarian friendly.

But just like the other offerings from Nature's Way that I've already come to know and love, the children's supplement line is held to a high standard. That means there's no high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin or common allergens to be found in the supplements. The best part? My two oldest kids ensure we never miss their daily vitamins—they are so in love with the gummy flavors, which include tropical fruit punch, lemonade and wild berry.

Nature's Way Kids Mulitvitamin

Meanwhile, my pharmacist husband has different criteria when evaluating supplements, especially when it comes to those for our kids. He appreciates the variety of options from Nature's Way, which gives us the ability to rotate the vitamins based on our kids' daily needs. By keeping various children's supplements from Nature's Way on hand, I can customize a regimen to suit my kids' individual requirements.

Of course, high-quality products often come at a higher price point. But (to my immense gratitude!) that isn't the case with Nature's Way, which retails for a competitive value when compared to the other items on the shelf.

Like all mamas, my chief concern is supporting my children's health in any way I can. While I see evidence of their growth every time I pack away clothes they've outgrown, I know there is much more growth that doesn't meet the eye. That's why, for my oldest son, I like stacking the Brain Builder gummy with the Growing Bones & Muscles gummy and the Happy & Healthy Multi. My 3-year-old also enjoys getting her own mix to include the Healthy Eyes gummy. And both of my older kids are quick to request the Tummy Soothe tablet when something isn't sitting right in their stomachs.* And I'll admit it: I've tried it myself and the berry blast flavor really is tasty!

Although my current phase of motherhood may not be as "simple" as it once was, there is so much to appreciate about it—like watching my kids play and sing and create with their incredible imaginations. Along the way, I've eased up on some of my need for control, but it does help to have this range of supplements in my motherhood tool kit. So while I may not be able to convince my son to try kale, having the Nature's Way supplements on hand means I do know he's right on track.*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on 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 support Motherly and mamas.

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International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

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