To my husband: You make me a better mother đź’ś

Keep calm and watch SportsCenter. You deserve it. 

To my husband: You make me a better mother đź’ś

I'll admit it: Though I'm trained in early childhood education and naturally fluent in baby and toddler speak, at times, I'm not right.

Shocking I know, but it is true. From time to time I must submit my knowledge to a special teacher of mine: my husband—the father, no, the Daddy, to my two radiant little people.

As an ode to my him, an ode to the Dads out there who are really doing it—I want to say: thank you.

So here are few lessons I've learned from my husband that make me a better mother.

1) Say it directly.

When my daughter, our second, was an infant, our relationship had a rocky moment.

Some resentment that went both ways—not very healthy. Despite complete sleep deprivation, I remember one moment distinctly. My husband had recently walked in from a day at the office, I had spent the day doing all the things mom does in a day (and probably was longing for some time at an office), he walked through the kitchen to our room to change clothes or something, and I snarkily remarked something to the effect of “Well I guess since you aren't going to wash the dishes, I will."


He looked me right in the eye and firmly and briskly said Don't do that.

Don't do that. Don't say it like that. It's so annoying. Just say what you want. I would much rather you say, Please fold the laundry, as opposed to something passive and angry.

I thought about getting offended. I decided instead to engage in a discussion. I let him know that I try not to bark orders, because that makes me feel like a demanding nag. He assured me it was much better to speak up and say clearly what I need, and further, that he wants to be helpful but honestly didn't see the house and the tasks in the same way I did. We ended up doing an exercise where we went from room to room describing what we saw.

Turns out, in each room, we saw a different scene. His eyes didn't scan for all the details. He wasn't thinking about packing lunches for the next day, and the spit up probably still left on the wall, and the phone call I needed to make, or any of the rest of it. He wasn't worried about the list running through my head. He was just glad to be home.

Over time, we've learned to meet in the middle here. I try to look away from the piles, and only feel the wholeness of the room, and he has developed a sense of what needs to be done without asking. And when he isn't seeing what needs to be done—I no longer feel badly about asking for it. It's a much healthier balance - for both of us.

Say what I need and don't feel guilt for it.

2) Let go of control.

It might not be done my way, but that doesn't mean that it was done the wrong way.

I once made sure I laid out our children's clothes, attempted to teach my husband which bucket held what toys, and checked in if I was out.

Now, I don't care.

My husband is taking care of them while I do something else. I'm grateful. The end.

I used to interject to tell him how to respond some of our children's questions. I mean, I had the education and the expertise of being with them 96% of the time. Luckily I quickly realized I was doing more harm than good by micro managing their relationship. Does Dad answer or connect the same way I do? No. He does it Dad's way, and that's a really special thing. I waste precious time and energy attempting to be in charge of every detail. And my kids have a wonderful relationship with the most important man in their life. I'm happy to stay out of it.

3) It's OK to tune out at times.

A parent doesn't always have to be on.

My husband wakes up and takes a shower first. He doesn't worry immediately about the kids. Partly because he knows I am doing it already, but partly because he firmly feels that he is more help if he takes care of himself first. And you can bet he doesn't feel a speck of guilt by not jumping up to help the kids immediately.

I, on the other hand, end up scrambling around to brush my own teeth before leaving the house, because I've been jumping at all the kid requests from the time I woke. He leaves the house a lot less frazzled than I do.

He might be on to something.

Additionally, he watches sports and tunes out. Completely. Zones out. Literally doesn't hear the kids “Dad! Daddy! Daddy!" And yet, I hear the tiniest of whispers “Mommy?!" Why is that?

I often feel over extended, trying to accomplish a few feats of magic in my world, constantly interrupted by Mommy? My husband has no intrinsic feeling that he must answer every request for his attention. He is perfectly content to zone out and answer when he is good and ready. He doesn't waste time feeling badly about this. He doesn't question himself Do I give them enough attention? Seeing as how I am with the kids more often—I'm thinking I should cut myself some slack here and there for some zone-out time.

4) How to make proper Star Wars sound effects and race car noises while playing.

Well. Let's be honest. I still get criticized (by my children) for my lack of talent in this department.

Which is fine by me, because I thoroughly enjoy having places where Dad is the expert—when a question or request comes in, I can sit back and say “Oh gosh. I don't know about that. Go ask Dad how many Stormtroopers are on the Imperial Star Destroyer. I don't have any idea."

5) To appreciate myself.

One day a year or so ago when I was feeling overwhelmed, tired, uninspired, all of it.

I was voicing my frustration to my husband, and I said something about how I was tired of feeling on—that it felt like a lot of pressure at times to have two little beings watching every move I make, and then copying that move, and pretty much learning to walk through their world by watching how I walked through mine. He looked at me, kind of in disbelief that I had said that and said, “Well, yea. But who better for them to learn from? If there were a fantasy draft (think fantasy football) for who I would want my children to copy in this world, you would be my number one draft pick." This was a high compliment from a sports fanatic. And since he had used his own love language to express it to me, I knew it was real. I took a moment to let that sink over me, and now have to remember it from time to time. I don't have to be 'on' all the time. I just have to be me. I mean, I'm his number one draft pick.

So, dads out there, thank you. Thank you for all you do and for reminding this mom to relax.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. 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 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.

Our Partners

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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