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

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

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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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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Life