Having children saved my life

Before kids, my career was on the up and up. I was making healthy six figures working in creative direction and social media at a major Hollywood studio. I thought so highly of myself and my abilities, over-estimating my talent and value. I changed companies every year, always looking for the next big opportunity. I worked 70+ hour weeks, but always felt that I was in over my head. But I kept promising myself I could fake it til I made it.

Then my first child came.

Everything went haywire. Because I was new I couldn't take any time off. My wife was taking on 95% of the workload that comes with a baby. I was getting requests from work at 11 p.m. that were due by 8 a.m., I was working until 2 a.m. every night and starting in again at 6 a.m. most days, including weekends. I was ducking out in the middle of church to handle requests.

The dream of a big shot Hollywood job had become an absolute nightmare because of this adorable little girl. This adorable little girl who made me realize how miserable I was in my glamorous job, how incredibly unimportant my work was with David Fincher's 30th revision to move copy 1 pixel to the right on our Twitter profile skin for “Gone Girl,” a script I actually despised so much that I never even watched the movie.

This little adorable baby girl absolutely decimated my career. I couldn't stay focused, I was dolling out excuses for lack of performance constantly, I wasn't attentive on conference calls and would get caught ignoring conversations red-handed constantly. I was exhausted. I was failing my employer and failing my wife even worse. My life was a disaster and I was missing out on all of my daughter's firsts.

Then I got fired.

Well, laid off gently and very courteously with a far-too-generous severance.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Now that I had this magical human being in my care, all I cared about was her. And I had 3 months of living expenses to figure life out. My friend Jake Larsens business he started was taking off. He seemed happy and free. I wanted that freedom more than anything. I read the $100 Start-Up and realized I didn’t need to start some massive company with investment money in order to provide for this little priceless treasure of a daughter.

I started an agency. I started calling everyone I knew offering anything that I thought they might want. Three months went by, my nest egg disappeared, I maxed out my credit card in month four when I got a client for a three month campaign.

It was a miracle.

Then a month later another one. It was as if everyone in my professional network was waiting to see whether or not I would tank. Then another client, then another, and at the end of year one, we made good revenue, and it was just me full-time and a couple partners moonlighting outside of their day jobs. It was working, but they wouldn't make the jump, so we split.

I hired a guy. And another guy. Year two we did even better revenue and were on a rocket-ship, doubling revenue quarter over quarter. Our work was getting featured on Mashable, Buzzfeed, Adweek, Forbes, I was speaking at events, this thing was actually working. I couldn’t believe it. Work was coming out of nowhere from the most unforeseen of places.

And the best part? I didnt CARE about prestige anymore!

I didn't care about my importance, my relevance, my title, my pedigree, all I cared about was providing for my sweet girl and making her happy, and that complete paradigm shift generated abundance and prestige that I never would have achieved in another decade of my glam Hollywood job.

In most of that time, yes I was frantic, but I rarely worked more than 50 hours a week. I took my little Princess to the pool every day, I gave my wife a break to pursue her hobbies, we went to Europe for two weeks, we went to the Oregon coast, we went to Europe again, we went to Hawaii, we went to Disneyland almost every week. I became an actual decent friend and extended family member. I took my Dad and brother to Death Valley.

Having children (temporarily) destroyed my career.

Having children SAVED MY LIFE.

This gorgeous, hilarious, magical, mystical little treasure saved my life. She brought fullness, fulfillment—she was this giant wrecking ball that decimated the skyscraper that was my life and reformed it into a magical village full of abundance, friends, family, good health and tranquility.

If you think maybe it’s time you destroy your career and save your life, maybe have a kid? Lolz.

Travis Chambers is a husband and father of two, Jax age 1 and Rylee age 3. He lives in Boise, Idaho and owns Chamber.Media, an agency that makes large-scale video productions for brands on YouTube and Facebook.

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.


Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.


Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.


Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.


boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.


Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.


Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.


Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this


One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.


Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.


Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.


Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.


BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.

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