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Valerie Jarrett's powerful advice for working mothers: Stop pretending

Jarrett says having her daughter was a wakeup call, and that looking down at Laura made her realize she was not satisfied professionally. She wanted something more and wanted an environment where she could thrive—without having to act like motherhood was some secret mission.

Valerie Jarrett's powerful advice for working mothers: Stop pretending

Valerie Jarrett became the longest-serving Senior Advisor to any U.S. President while working President Barack Obama's White House, and she made history after raising her daughter Laura as a single working mom.

On the latest episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Jarrett speaks with Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about life, her new book, her work and why she wants working moms to be able to acknowledge their motherhood while in the workplace.

Jarrett made American history, but her story began when her parents chose to leave America.

"My father, who is a physician, was looking for a job in the mid-50s when he came out of the Army and he wanted to be at a major teaching institution doing research. And he couldn't find a job equivalent to what his white counterparts were making. So he and my mom who were adventuresome spirits no doubt, began to explore options outside of the United States and he landed a job offer to help start a brand new hospital in Shiraz, Iran," Jarrett explains.

She was the second baby to be born in that hospital and credits her early international experiences with providing her with a strong educational foundation and the ability to take professional risks and deviate from a linear career path.

The professional detour that took Jarrett from being "bored to tears" at a law firm to the White House and beyond began with motherhood, and the realization that work-life balance is hard to achieve when you can't admit to your motherhood at work.

"I had a very generous maternity leave policy back then," says Jarrett, who welcomed her daughter in the 1980s. " I had four months of paid leave. And then I went back to work and I would just sit in my office and cry and I would worry all day long about how can I get everything done I need to get done so I can get home," she recalls.

Jarrett says having her daughter was a wakeup call, and that looking down at Laura made her realize she was not satisfied professionally. She wanted something more and wanted an environment where she could thrive—without having to act like motherhood was some secret mission.

"I remember at the law firm I would take Laura to the pediatrician. I would say, 'Oh I'm going to a meeting.'" she explains, adding that when she made her career change (to Chicago Mayor Richard Daly's office, where she would hire a young Michelle Obama) she was able to work for people who appreciated that she had a responsibility outside of work, her daughter Laura, who was (and is) the most important thing in her life.

And although Laura was an adult by the time Jarrett was the Senior Advisor to President Obama, Jarrett was still a mother, first and foremost.

"That doesn't stop when they graduate from high school. I still feel that way today," she tells Tenety.

Jarrett is now a grandmother and continues to work with the Obamas, as the Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation.

Her new book, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward is a New York Times bestseller.

To hear more from Valerie Jarrett about her experience as a mother balancing career and family, check out the The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential.

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These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

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

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

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

Our Partners
Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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