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My darling—thank you for showing me affection, especially in front of our kids

My darling,
I know it's easy to get caught up in the madness of the dinner rush and then the bedtime routines and the bedtime demands and the getting out of their beds and the climbing into our beds. But today, I wanted to pause and tell you something.

I wanted to thank you.

Thank you for taking out the trash. Thank you for doing all the laundry. Thank you for working so hard for our family. Thank you for hosting dance parties for your daughters. And thank you for letting me pick the movies we watch (for the most part).

But most of all—thank you for loving me like you do.

When we first starting dating, you used to joke around and call me a cat—because I liked to be hanging on you or touching somehow all the time. (I like some good ol' fashion PDA, what can I say?)

Now, after 10 years, I finally think you are on the same page as me. Affection is one of our mutual love languages—how we give and receive love.

And showing love is a huge part of parenting. I want our children to see us hold hands, to watch us give each other the biggest hug when we reunite after a long day. I want them to see that when you love someone, it is normal and natural to want to show them affection—that it fuels a relationship.

But what has also entered into this discussion is consent. Thank you for being right there with me during these sometimes tricky-to-navigate conversations and for truly understanding just how significant these lessons really are.

And I'm not sure if you know how much your affection means to me, so I'll tell you.

The hug you give me after you walk through the door from work is something I wait for all day. It recharges me.

Your arms, ready to catch me when I fall, have been there to support me many times when I've broken down. Knowing that you will always be there for me—right by my side—makes me feel brave. It reassures me.

The kiss you give me before you leave for work—quietly in the early hours of the morning—is something I count on every single morning. It encourages me.

Knowing your hand is beside me, for me to hold on to—while we're walking, when I'm nervous, when I just want to feel connected to you—is a privilege I'm lucky to have. It protects me.

The back rubs you give me help me feel seen. You know how grueling motherhood can be for me and when you suggest kneading out my (many, many) knots, I feel like you understand my needs. It validates me.

Knowing that our dancing around together in the kitchen will guarantee all three of our girls joining in warms my heart. It fills my cup.

The intimate act of wiping the tears from my face has comforted me more than you know. You make me feel safe.

Feeling you beside me in bed, snuggling me before we drift off to sleep, erases the stress of the day. (Even if it's only for about 30 seconds before we both turn over to get our own space. 😂) It makes me feel peaceful.

When we curl up together on the couch after an exhausting day of meals and meltdowns, diapers and drop-offs, emails and meetings, I've come to realize that there's nowhere else I'd rather be in the world.

The bum taps, the quick kisses in passing, the hand squeezes, the forehead kisses, the high-fives all make me feel special, beautiful, important. Your affection reminds me that I'm your girl and that we're in this together.

Being a mother is hard. I know you know this already. I give and give… and then I give some more. It can be, often times, emotionally draining and physically taxing. And I don't get bonuses from my tiny bosses or a report card for proof of how hard I'm working and how much effort my role requires. I'm often left wondering if I'm doing anything right.

And a lot of the time I can cut myself a break and realize I am doing a great job. And I can feel beautiful and I can show myself love. But, I'm only human, and I crave validation from you.

I'm grateful you show me validation by way of affection, because it works for me. So, thank you.

I feel seen. I feel appreciated. And most of all—I feel loved.

Love always,

Your wife

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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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