Marriage after kids: Pretty Little Liar’s star on keeping things hot at home

I recently was perusing Instagram when I stumbled on a friend who was getting married. She had been planning a wedding for two years and was obsessed with the idea of being someone’s wife, obsessed with their future life together.

The first thing I thought was ‘wait until you have kids.

I caught myself. How horrible was that thought? Like throwing kids in the mix could nudge your footing off a stable axis? Then I let that sentiment land and I stood by it.

Love is pretty easy, especially in the beginning. Two people allowed to be selfish together, slightly compromising to each other’s needs, bending somewhat to the other person. Two people that stand like two trees—solid, touching, but still independent, still bathed in freedom and spontaneity and energy.

Marriage shouldn’t be monumentally tough.

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If you’ve had a pretty solid relationship—the transition to being a spouse should be quite fluid. Then you throw kids into the mix, and it shakes you to your core. (If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about.)

There is a reason why people say, “no divorcé before age two.” What happens when you bring children into the mix is you have to rearrange yourself. You have to rearrange your relationship—how you visualize the world, how you visualize yourself.

Your new lenses become more vibrant, more childlike but you also become a heck of a lot more susceptible to hairline fractures on your relationship.

Having children becomes a fertile environment for any issue that has not been resolved in your marriage before you had kids. Coupled with the lack of sleep, the unbending consistency and the new emotions that accompany being a first-time parent, the first thing to suffer, if not taken care of, is your marriage. I see it all the time.

First-time-parents—the train is-a-comin’ and your world as you know it will be forever changed.

So how do we support this? How do we evolve our relationship to another level of strength, bonding and compassion? Well, we need to constantly and daily put work and time and energy into our marriages.

1. Make time for just the two of you.

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My husband and I have date nights every Friday. Every Friday without fail. Sometimes it’s just Thai takeout in the car, in silence, holding hands, but bonded in something so much greater.

2. Have sex.

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When you first get together you do the horizontal tango too many times to count. After you have children, more times than not, the unbending exhaustion will trump sex almost every time. But make it a priority. Sex bonds you together in ways that nothing else can. The attraction is still there, it’s just clouded right now.

3. Keep falling in love.

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I heard a quote the other day that was so prescient to me, “to make a marriage work you have to keep falling in love.” This is especially true when you have kids. The little things matter. Make sure you are making a point to think of each other daily.

4. Work on your communication.

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It seems a hell of a lot easier, born from frustration to (in the moment) attack each other. In the long run, you are causing cracks in your foundation. Always talk from your perspective. Ask questions like “How does this make you feel”—you’ll develop a stronger relationship by working together, which in turn, will make you better parents.

Don’t get me wrong, having a child was the best thing that has ever happened to me. She is my insides. My beginning and my end. She gave me oxygen and I truly began living the second she came into my world. But with such a monumental life shift, chain reactions will surely happen.

Make sure to be aware that a life-long marriage takes work. Work that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

This article was originally published on Bottle + Heels.

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Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.

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

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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.


In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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