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My husband and I are both passionate yet sensitive people. So it's been interesting navigating topics that pop up we don't agree on, or parenting decisions we don't see eye-to-eye on through the course of our relationship.

We have definitely realized that it can be hard.

I mean, raising three children—four and under—is just hard in general. It's complicated and exhausting and tricky and requires a decent amount of patience that we sometimes have, sometimes don't. It depends on the day and how much caffeine is pumping through our veins.

But it's not 'hard' like not worth it 'hard.' Like give up 'hard.' Just 'hard' like dang! We need to work on this. We need to continue to put the work in to make each and every day a success. We love our family and we love each other and it's worth it to do that work.

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One day recently when we were...let's call it, “passionately discussing" how we should talk to our children when they do something wrong, my husband threw out one of our favorite inside jokes from when we binged watched How I Met Your Mother when we were newlyweds. It's a solid joke that—no matter how mad we are when we throw it out—if it's timed right, it kills.

“That would be a major pain to do it that way," I said.

Pause.

My husband salutes and at the same time repeats, “Major Pain."

See—the joke takes what someone says and turns it into a military ranking. (It's a thing, seriously. And it's really only funny if you've watched the show. ?)

It somehow instantly brings me back to that time when we sat in our bed together for hours, pre-children, and we watched and watched and watched HIMYM to our heart's content. No requests for water or to watch Curious George instead. No crying or diaper changes. Just us and our friends Robin, Ted, Barney, Lily and Marshall.

That day, and many days since, I've realized how much laughter is a true blessing in our marriage. Whether we're funny to other people or not, we really are funny to each other. And that does a marriage good, if you ask me.

I'm glad I married the man who can make me belly laugh over the most ridiculous things. And vice versa. (Usually me more because I'm funnier, but don't tell him that…)

I'm glad we can turn to laughter when tensions are running high. Cracking a funny joke can break the ice and get us back in each other's good graces 99% of the time. (And it's actually a lot easier than staying mad at each other.)

I'm glad we can turn to laughter when we've messed up and want to apologize but don't want it to be super serious—we want to say sorry and just see their smile again and not make a huge deal over it. (So, just to reiterate, the formula is apologize quick + crack joke immediately = move on. Works pretty well.)

I'm glad we can turn to laughter in the middle of a fight. We've literally started cracking up during some arguments and then we're basically too tired to go back to the fight so we just get over it.

I'm glad we can turn to laughter in the middle of a seemingly impossible parenting situation—like a code brown or a 3 a.m. puke fest—and find some sort of humor in the situation. It honestly makes me feel like we're really playing as a team. That we're really in this together. Because if you can't laugh together while covered in someone else's vomit, when CAN you laugh? Amirite?

I'm glad we can turn to laughter when we're trying to...have some time to ourselves (?), but one child starts crying, so we go to them and help them and calm them. Then, we get back to...what we were doing, but then another child cries...so we go help them and calm them. Then, we try to get back to it but laugh because—sure, that seemed fun an hour ago, but we're really tired and have to be up in five hours and no, we're going to go to sleep instead. Rain check!

I'm glad we can turn to laughter when we're so tired we accidentally throw our phone out in the garbage or take the wrong train line home and end up in a totally different town than the one we live in. Sure they were kind of inconvenient situations, but they were also pretty hilarious, so...worth the laugh.

I'm glad we can turn to laughter when there's lot of whining going on. Whining is not fun and you need something to counter balance all the whining in order to stay sane. Like a “stop the whining" song to the tune of DJ Khaled's “All I Do Is Win" that you made up and sends everyone into fits of laughter (okay, okay, just me and my husband) right away. But, actually, it doesn't really work for the whiner...the whiner typically keeps whining.

(Guys, really—sing it, it's fun. “All I do is whine, whine, whine no matter what...got Bubble Guppies on my mind, I can never get enough. And every time I step up from my crib my demands go up! And they stay there…")

Marriage and love and parenting and living together and life in general isn't always easy. So, we laugh. We lighten things up. We try not to take ourselves too seriously.

Because as the writer Rose Franken once said, “Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly."

So, it's important be with someone who will be silly with you. Who will make you laugh.

Be with someone who's not afraid to pretend to be the royal princess at your daughter's tea party.

Be with someone who will think the accidental-baby-poop-explosion-on-the-couch situation—while very, very unfortunate—is also pretty funny. (And fixable, thank goodness.)

Be with someone who will laugh at themselves when they've realized they somehow got their 2-year-old in their babies' 6 month onesie. (It did look a little tight…)

Be with someone who will sit with you at the end of a long day and laugh at the wild and crazy events that went on because only you two really get it and that is a pretty special feeling.

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Chrissy Teigen is one of the most famous moms in the world and definitely one of the most famous moms on social media.

She's the Queen of Twitter and at least the Duchess of Instagram but with a massive following comes a massive dose of mom-shame, and Teigen admits the online comments criticizing her parenting affects her.

"It's pretty much everything," Teigen told Today, noting that the bulk of the criticism falls into three categories: How she feeds her kids, how she uses her car seats and screen time.

"Any time I post a picture of them holding ribs or eating sausage, I get a lot of criticism," she explained. "Vegans and vegetarians are mad and feel that we're forcing meat upon them at a young age. They freak out."

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Teigen continues: "If they get a glimpse of the car seat there is a lot of buckle talk. Maybe for one half of a second, the strap slipped down. And TV is another big one. We have TV on a lot in my house. John and I work on television; we love watching television."

Teigen wants the shame to stop, not just for herself but for all the other moms who feel it. (And we agree.)

"Hearing that nine out of 10 moms don't feel like they're doing a good enough job is terrible," she said. "We're all so worried that we're not doing all that we can, when we really are."

The inspiration for Teigen talking publicly about mom-shame may be in part because of her participation in Pampers' "Share the Love" campaign. But even though Teigen's discussion coincides with this campaign, the message remains equally important. Advertising can be a powerful tool for shifting the way society thinks about what's "normal" and we would much rather see companies speaking out against mom-shame than inducing it to sell more stuff.

Calling out mom-shame in our culture is worth doing in our lives, our communities and yes, our diaper commercials. Thank you Chrissy (and thank you, Pampers).

News

Dear fellow mama,

I was thinking about the past the other day. About the time I had three small boys—a newborn, his 2-year-old brother and his 5-year-old brother.

How I was always drowning.

How I could never catch my breath between the constant requests.

How I always felt guilty no matter how hard I tried.

How hard it was—the constant exhaustion, struggling to keep my home any kind of clean or tidy, how I struggled to feed my kids nutritious meals, to bathe them and clean them and keep them warmly dressed in clean clothing, to love them well or enough or well enough.

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Those years were some of the toughest years I have ever encountered.

But mama, I am here to tell you that it doesn't last forever. Slowly, incrementally, without you even noticing, it gets easier. First, one child is toilet trained, then the bigger one can tie his own shoelaces, then finally they are all sleeping through the night.

It's hard to imagine; I really really get it.

It is going to get easier. I swear it. I'm not saying that there won't be new parenting challenges, that it won't be the hardest thing you have ever done in your life. It will be. But it will get easier.

These days, all of my kids get the bus to school and back. Most of them dress themselves. They can all eat independently and use the toilet. Sometimes they play with each other for hours leaving me time to do whatever I need to do that day.

I sleep through the night. I am not constantly in a haze of exhaustion. I am not overwhelmed by three tiny little people needing me to help them with their basic needs, all at the same time.

I can drink a hot cup of coffee. I do not wish with every fiber of my being that I was an octopus, able to help each tiny person at the same time.

I am not tugged in opposite directions. I don't have to disappoint my 3-year-old who desperately wants to play with me while I am helping his first grade bother with his first grade reading homework.

And one day, you will be here too.

It's going to get easier. I promise. And while it may not happen today or even next week or even next month, it will happen. And you will look around in wonder at the magnificent people you helped to create and nurture and sustain.

Until then, you are stronger and more resilient than you can even imagine.

You've got this. Today and always.

Love,

A fellow mama

Life

I am broken.

It has happened again and I am breaking even more. Soon, the pieces will be too small to put back together.

The negative pregnancy test sits on my bathroom sink like a smug ex-lover. I am left pleading, How could you do this to me again? I thought it would be different this time. I had hope.

We are still trying. It has been 11 months and 13 days and there has been no progress. No forward momentum. No double solid lines. The emptiness of the space where the line should be mocks me.

I am broken.

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No amount of planning and scheming and effort is enough. I am not enough because I cannot make a chemical reaction happen at the exact moment it needs to happen. I cannot do what I want but oh how I wish I could.

It almost happened once. Two months ago, I felt different. Sore breasts and aware of the world like never before. I felt not empty. The blankness had been replaced by someone. I was sure of it. And I was late. Six days late and I thought this is it.

I didn't rush to test because I didn't want to jinx it. Or perhaps I just didn't want to let go of that string of hope. Without evidence that you're not actually here, I can pretend that you are.

So I waited. And I Googled early pregnancy symptoms and I kept an eye out for red spots I hoped I would never see. I finally couldn't wait any longer and decided the next morning would be the test.

But when I woke up, I knew it was just me. The feeling I had been feeling was gone and I knew, just knew, what I would find.

This test had words instead of lines. 'Not pregnant' it blared loudly, obnoxiously, insensitively.

I am broken.

It was four in the morning and I stood in my tiny bathroom apartment silently sobbing. Alone.

Perhaps you were there for a brief moment, but then you were gone.

I stared again at the stick.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

Not pregnant.

It was taunting me now.

I wrapped it in a paper towel. Walked down three flights of stairs to the front of my building and threw it in the garbage can outside.

Later, when my husband woke, I told him I was wrong. There was nothing there after all.

And I mourned. All day long, I mourned. While I walked to work. While I said hello to my co-workers. While I answered questions and pretended to smile and tried not to think of the broken body I was living in.

The next day the blood arrived. Furious. Both of us infuriated it was there once again.

Can I keep doing this?

Am I broken?

Will I get to the point where I just… stop? Stop hoping. Stop praying. Stop wishing. Stop. Trying.

Am I broken? Or can I keep going?

Life

One of my biggest jobs as a mama is to create a foundation for my kids to become trailblazers and problem-solvers. It's not an easy task. I'm constantly wondering what type of person they'll become and how I can ensure they'll be awesome citizens of the world. For me, part of raising and encouraging future leaders starts with exposure—the more I introduce them to notable leaders in history, the better they can envision their own future.

This is why I love when brands create inspirational clothing and accessories for kids. And this month, Piccolina, a lifestyle brand for littles, added an exclusive Black History Month capsule collection to their trailblazer tees series and they are too cute for words.

The Black History Month line honors heroic leaders like Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, Katherine Johnson and Rosa Parks on colorful tees. It even features illustrations by emerging artists of color like Monica Ahanonu, Erin Robinson and Joelle Avelino who are, in my opinion, just as important.

In addition to the tops, the collection features art prints that coincide with the shirts, making this a perfect addition to any kids room—and even mama's office. Perhaps even more exciting are the price points: The limited-edition tees retail for $28 and framed art prints are $60.

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

Maya Angelou trailblazer tee

This cotton tee features a portrait of the award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist and is the perfect way for your little one to celebrate her inner storyteller. A portion of the shirts proceeds benefit non-profit organizations that support girls' education and empowerment, such as the Malala Fund and Step Up.

$28

While I'm not sure what type of person my little ones will become, I'm certain that introducing them to leaders will help them have greater self-confidence and reinforce that they are competent and resilient, too. And what mama can't get behind that? Now the hardest part is deciding which ones to purchase.

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