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Raise your hand if you passed time during the newborn phase like Jessica Alba 🙋‍♀️

Jessica Alba’s latest Instagram picture is seriously relatable.

Raise your hand if you passed time during the newborn phase like Jessica Alba 🙋‍♀️

As I was preparing for the birth of my second child, I looked forward to many things that I knew would come in the newborn stage: Seeing what she looked like for the first time. Snuggling with her while caressing that baby-soft hair. Wearing her in a carrier while playing with her big brother. And having the excuse to binge watch my favorite shows during marathon nursing sessions. (As luck would have it, the second season of Stranger Things came out two days after she was born. ?)


Apparently the latter is something I have in common with Jessica Alba—who recently shared a sweet picture of baby Hayes Warren along with a caption about their TV-viewing habits.

“Tuesdays/all the days w my Hayes #chillin watching @graceandfrankie,” the third-time mama says. “I’m on season 4 and I don’t want it to end ? #bingewatching #graceandfrankie#lovethisshow #newbornmom

A post shared by Jessica Alba (@jessicaalba) on

They say the magic of television is its ability to transport you to another time and place. That’s especially true for many mamas... Although it isn’t Westeros we’re transporting to—it’s another time in our own lives.

For me, the mention of Project Runway will forever make me think of the worn leather chair in our basement family room and the many, many hours I spent sitting there with my first baby.

Looking back on it, how do I feel about the fact some of the earliest conversations my child heard were about “making it work” and shopping trips to Mood? Absolutely content—because the real beauty of Project Runway was that I didn’t have to stay too focused through the episodes, which gave me plenty of time to get lost in my thoughts about the amazing baby sleeping on my chest.

Soon enough, the available episodes came to an end and we happily reemerged from hibernation. But, until that time comes, any new mama should give herself full permission to enjoy a TV binge—even if you’re the founder of a multi-million dollar company like Alba.

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

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Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

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A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

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Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

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Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

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