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[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.]

Okay, mama—sit back and relax. I'm going to tell you a story, and it's probably a scenario you'll be all too familiar with as a wife and mother. (It also might be autobiographical in nature.

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You've planned a Saturday evening out with your girlfriends, so you spend that afternoon getting the house in order, the laundry going, the dishes unloaded and reloaded and prepping dinner for the hubby and the troops. When you leave, everything is not only in working order, but the house is looking pristine. Dinner is ready to be put in the oven and you even have the kids' pajamas laid out and ready in their rooms.



You head out for a night on the town with the girls—perhaps dinner at your local quasi-fancy restaurant, so you have a reason to get out of your yoga pants, sip on an overpriced glass of wine and dine on mediocre food, all so you can talk for a few hours to people who don't call you “mom."

 You pull your minivan back in the garage and step into the house, relaxed from a night out and you round the corner into the kitchen...

Is this actually my house, you may wonder. It's hard to know for sure, because it looks like a bomb went off in there. Your blood pressure rises. Dishes covered in food scraps are scattered across your kitchen countertop. There are 19 cups full of water on the counter, the casserole you slaved over is sitting out on top of the stove and kitchen chairs are pushed into a tent-making formation.

There are crumbs all over the floor and a huge sticky spot that looks suspiciously like melted ice cream. There are remnants of burned popcorn remaining in your favorite copper cookware and there is rage flooding your soul.



Thoughts begin to fill your mind—thoughts like, “No one appreciates everything I do around here" and “My husband has no regard for me and everything I do for our family."

With your temper burning hot as the sun, you open the dishwasher and begin to slam dishes into the racks, making sure enough noise is generated to get your husband's attention upstairs. You grab the casserole and cover it, then loudly make room in the refrigerator for the Pyrex dish. You make sure he can hear you shoving the chairs back into place, grunting a few times for good measure. You're like an animal waiting for your prey.

And: enter husband.

“Hey, babe," he says, strolling blissfully unaware into a warzone. “How was your night? Did you have a good time?"


You glare at him and mutter, “Mmmhmmm."


“We had fun, too," he says. “We had dinner and played for a long time, then we watched a movie. I just got the last kiddo to bed."

“Hmmmmm. That's nice," you respond in a snarky tone of voice.


“Umm… Is everything okay?" he asks, legitimately confused by your behavior.



“Oh, YES, everything is FINE. Why do you ask?" you answer, slamming things around a little harder.


“Well, it just seems like you're a little upset, and..."


“Oh, it DOES, does it? Yes, I'd say I'm a LITTLE upset. I just don't understand how I can leave the house in spotless condition only to come home and find…"


And you launch into a tirade you've been rehearsing for 10 minutes in your mind.

 After you unload every reason why you feel undervalued as a wife and a mother, your husband stands silently, unsure of what to say. Finally, he speaks, and when he does and you hear his response, you sort of want to take a jackhammer to your kitchen floor until you hit soft earth, and then keep digging until there's a hole big enough to hide your over-inflated self in.



“I'm really sorry, babe. I really didn't mean to leave a mess for you. I was going to clean up—I just got distracted, because the kids and I were playing together and having a tickle fight and building Legos, and then we all piled on the couch and watched a movie together, and by the time I got them all to bed, you had just gotten home. I really was going to clean it up, I promise. Here, let me finish up and you go do what you need to do."

And… crickets. Crickets for what feels like hours, because what do you say when you realize that the man you chose, the one you promised yes and forever to, has actually become the father you dreamed of for your children.

He's the father you never had. He's a breaking-the-mold kind of man, because he sets aside things like dishes and crumbs and half-eaten casseroles to have tickle fights with and build Legos with and watch movies with and access the hearts of his children. He's the kind of father who goes into the office early, before the sun has begun to think about making an appearance, not because he's an early bird, but because it allows him the flexibility to make it home each and every day before the sun says goodbye. He co-parents—he never “babysits"—and he shows you up on a regular basis with his innate parenting instincts and skills.

 He recognizes the value of sacrificing temporary things like hobbies and alone time and nice cars and dirty dishes and clean kitchens for the eternal investment he makes in his children. In your children.



And finally it dawns on you—you're not mad at HIM for the mess in the kitchen (or at least you're not too mad)—you're ashamed because you temporarily put more value in a clean kitchen than you did in your children connecting with their father.



So let me encourage you to hit the pause button next time you want to go off on your husband over the temporary things. This doesn't mean that he should never contribute around the house, and it doesn't mean you can't have pet peeves and speak your mind and that he should leave things trashed every time you leave because he's “pursuing eternal things," but try to build up an abundance of grace for your man, the one who is your children's father.

You'll never regret having crumbs in your kitchen if it means your children are secure in their father's love for them.



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Parents in New Jersey will soon get more money and more time for parental leave after welcoming a baby.

This week New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed off on legislation that extends New Jersey's paid family leave from six weeks to 12.

It also increases the benefit cap from 53% of the average weekly wage to 70%, meaning the maximum benefit for a parent on family leave will be $860 a week, up from $650.

It might not seem like a huge difference, but by raising the benefit from two-thirds of a parent's pay to 85%, lawmakers in New Jersey are hoping to encourage more parents to actually take leave, which is good for the parents, their baby and their family. "Especially for that new mom and dad, we know that more time spent bonding with a child can lead to a better long-term outcome for that child," Murphy said at a press conference this week.

The law will also make it easier for people to take time off when a family member is sick.

Because NJ's paid leave is funded through payroll deductions, workers could see an increase in those deductions, but Murphy is betting that workers and businesses will see the benefits in increasing paid leave benefits. "Morale goes up, productivity goes up, and more money goes into the system," Murphy said. "And increasingly, companies big and small realize that a happy workforce and a secure workforce is a key ingredient to their success."

The new benefits will go into effect in July 2020 (making next Halloween a good time to get pregnant in the Garden State).

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Whether you just need to stock up on diapers or you've had your eye on a specific piece of baby gear, you might want to swing by your local Walmart this Saturday, February 23rd.

Walmart's big "Baby Savings Day" is happening from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at participating Walmarts (but more deals can be found online at Walmart.com already and the website deals are happening for the rest of the month).

About 3,000 of the 3,570 Supercenter locations are participating in the sale (check here to see if your local Walmart is).

The deals vary, but in general you can expect up to 30% off on items like cribs, strollers, car seats, wipes, diapers and formula.

Some items, like this Graco Modes 3 Lite Travel System have been marked down by more than $100. Other hot items include this Lille Baby Complete Carrier (It's usually $119, going for $99 during the sale) and the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat (for as low as $199).

So if you're in need of baby gear, you should check out this sale. Travel gear isn't the only category that's been marked down, there are some steep discounts on breast pumps, too.

Many of the Walmart locations will also be offering samples and expert demos of certain products on Saturday so it's worth checking out!

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Any Schumer has not had an easy pregnancy. She intended to keep working, but if you follow her on social media you know she's been very sick through each trimester.

And now in her final trimester she's had to cancel her tour due to hyperemesis gravidarum, also known as HG. It's a rare but very serious form of extreme morning sickness, and on Friday evening Schumer announced she is canceling the rest of her tour because of it.

“I vomit every time [I] ride in a car even for 5 minutes," Schumer explained in an Instagram post.

Due to the constant vomiting she's not cleared to fly and just can't continue to the tour.

This is not the first time Schumer has had to make an announcement about HG. Back in November, just weeks after announcing her pregnancy, she had to cancel shows and again broke the news via Instagram.

She posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed with her little dog Tati, and spelled out the details of her health issues in the caption. "I have hyperemesis and it blows," Schumer wrote.

Poor Amy. Hyperemesis gravidarum is really tough.

Kate Middleton, Ayesha Curry and Motherly co-founder Elizabeth Tenety are among those who, like Schumer, have suffered from this form of severe morning sickness that can be totally debilitating.

As she previously wrote for Motherly, Tenety remembers becoming desperately ill, being confined to her apartment (mostly her bed) and never being far from a trash can, "I lost 10% of my body weight. I became severely dehydrated. I couldn't work. I couldn't even get out of bed. I could barely talk on the phone to tell my doctor how sick I was—begging them to please give me something, anything—to help."

Thankfully, she found relief through a prescription for Zofran, an anti-nausea drug.


Schumer probably knows all about that drug. It looks she is getting the medical help she obviously needs, and she was totally right to cancel the tour in order to stay as healthy as possible.

We're glad to see Schumer is getting help, and totally understand why she would have to cancel her shows. Any mama who has been through HG will tell you, that wouldn't be a show you'd want front row seats for anyway.

Get well soon, Amy!

[A version of this post was published November 15, 2018. It has been updated.]

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As a military spouse, Cydney Cooper is used to doing things alone. But when she delivered her twin daughters early after complications due to Influenza A, she was missing her husband Skylar more than ever.

Recovering from the flu and an emergency C-section, and trying to parent the couple's two older boys and be with her new infant daughters in the NICU, Cydney was exhausted and scared and just wanted her husband who was deployed in Kuwait with the Army and wasn't expected home for weeks.

Alone in the NICU 12 days after giving birth, Cydney was texting an update on the twins to her husband when he walked through the door to shoulder some of the massive burden this mama was carrying.

"I was typing up their summary as best I could and trying to remember every detail to tell him when I looked up and saw him standing there. Shock, relief, and the feeling that everything was just alright hit me at once. I just finally let go," she explains in a statement to Motherly.

The moment was captured on video thanks to a family member who was in on Skylar's surprise and the reunion has now gone viral, having been viewed millions of times. It's an incredible moment for the couple who hadn't seen each other since Skylar had a three-day pass in seven months earlier.

Cydney had been caring for the couple's two boys and progressing in her pregnancy when, just over a week before the viral video was taken, she tested positive for Influenza A and went into preterm labor. "My husband was gone, my babies were early, I had the flu, and I was terrified," she tells Motherly.

"Over the next 48 hours they were able to stop my labor and I was discharged from the hospital. It only lasted two days and I went right back up and was in full on labor that was too far to stop."

Cydney needed an emergency C-section due to the babies' positioning, and her medical team could not allow anyone who had previously been around her into the operating room because anyone close to Cydney had been exposed to the flu.

"So I went in alone. The nurses and doctors were wonderful and held my hand through the entire thing but at the same time, I felt very very alone and scared. [Skylar] had been present for our first two and he was my rock and I didn't have him when I wanted him the most. But I did it! He was messaging me the second they wheeled me to recovery. Little did I know he was already working on being on his way."

When he found out his baby girls were coming early Skylar did everything he could to get home, and seeing him walk into the NICU is a moment Cydney will hold in her heart and her memory forever. "I had been having to hop back and forth from our sons to our daughters and felt guilty constantly because I couldn't be with all of them especially with their dad gone. It was one of the most amazing moments of my life and I won't be forgetting it."

It's so hard for a military spouse to do everything alone after a baby comes, and the military does recognize this. Just last month the Army doubled the amount of leave qualifying secondary caregivers (most often dads) can take after a birth or adoption, from 10 days to 21 so that moms like Cydney don't have to do it all alone.

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