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What went viral this week: A mom defends Shakira and J. Lo + the beauty of working motherhood

There's a lot of heavy news this week so let's look at the lighter side of this week's headlines.

What went viral this week: A mom defends Shakira and J. Lo + the beauty of working motherhood

Congratulations, mama! You officially made it through January—also known as the month of 1,000 days. Getting through the first month of 2020 lull is no easy feat, but here's what you need to remember: It's behind you now. So take a deep breath and get ready to power through the shortest month of the year like a boss.

February has already brought us a confusing Iowa caucus, a State of the Union address and will give us three (yes, three) Democratic debates. There are a lot of heavy headlines happening this month, so let's take a look at some of the lighter stories going viral right now.

Here are the viral headlines that caught our eye this week:

This mom's viral post highlights hypocrisy in halftime show criticism 

If you've been finding the criticism of Jennifer Lopez and Shakira's incredible halftime show a bit tiresome you are not alone. Two amazingly talented superstar mamas took America's largest stage and dominated it...yet people are still panning their outfits and their dance moves.

But one mama isn't taking it. In a viral post, she points out that seeing women with their midriffs exposed during football games is...well, nothing new. Case in point: The cheerleaders. So what's the difference with J. Lo and Shakira showing their bellies and shaking what their mamas gave them? Is it because they're moms?

Because let's face it, there's this weird, unfair idea that mothers aren't allowed to be sexy. And that's not okay.

Luckily, this mama came through with the perfect example of why we need to drop the hypocrisy and stop criticizing what these two incredible women did on the Super Bowl stage. Let's instead applaud Shakira and J. Lo for bringing an amazingly entertaining, meaningful and empowering performance. These two mothers are total forces.

Viral photo shows how airline went above + beyond for one little boy 

If you've ever flown with a child, you know that sometimes stuff gets lost. You also know that when certain things get lost, meltdowns ensure. And another thing you know? That a meltdown is exactly the last thing you need when traveling with little ones.

But sometimes it all turns out okay. Southwest Airlines just shared a story that proves this to be true: A little boy named Grayson reportedly lost his teddy bear during a recent trip. The team at Southwest scoured high and low for the bear, which was never found. But they offered to make it right by giving Grayson another teddy bear...and the slideshow the social team made to introduce the boy and his new bear is adorable!

Dealing with the loss of a special stuffed animal or toy is never easy (and sometimes it's downright traumatic), but moves like this make the lives of parents and kids a little bit easier. Kudos to Southwest for taking major steps to making this situation right (and fun!) for this lucky little guy.

This viral Instagram post shows how hard working motherhood is—and how capable moms are

One thing we can all agree on: Being a working mom (or really any kind of mom) is so, so hard. Juggling all your responsibilities, staying in the moment at work and when you're with your kids, prioritizing your own health...it's just a lot to manage.

But one mama is making an incredible point about what motherhood can do for your career and it's highlighting the upside. "My behavior did change when my child was born. But for the better," the mama says, according to a viral Humans of New York post. "I became more efficient. For the first time I was able to set limits, and have people recognize them. My limits never seemed valid before. Exhaustion wasn't valid. Mental health wasn't valid. But having a child gave me a firm reason to say 'no.' It's not 'no' to working harder. It's 'no' to excess."

This particular mama is starting a business with a fellow mom, so she obviously understands how hard to juggling act is. She also understands how motherhood forces you to attack your goals with a greater sense of focus and to realize what really matters. "I don't have time for [excess] anymore. I have to recognize what's most important. I don't have time for endless debate. I have to go straight to the source of the problem, or my kid is going to pee her pants," she says.

We love this reminder so much. Because yes, motherhood is a job in and of itself, and it makes maintaining your other commitments that much tougher. But it also makes you tougher.

A triplet's triplets turn 1! Remember these viral babies? 

Remember when we told you about a mama who happened to be a triplet and had her own set of triplets? Her story was incredible—and the way her triplet siblings came through to help her raise her own kids warmed our hearts.

But Judit Minta's babies are no longer babies (cue the mama tears)—they just celebrated their first birthday! Her triplets, Filip, Amelia and Henrik celebrated their birthday with the most adorable cake-and-balloon setup. Judit shared photos of the celebration on her Instagram feed.

"No one can ever prepare you for what happens when you have children," the mama writes. "When you see the babies in your arms and you know that it's your job now. No one can prepare you for the love and the fear. No one can prepare you for the love, people you love, can feel for them."

So true—your child's first birthday is such an emotional day for a mother. Can you imagine what it's like when all three of your kids are turning one at once?

"A year ago today an amazing journey has begun and I have become a mother," Judit writes. "Filip, Amelia and Henrik came to the world strong and healthy and they made me so happy, happy beyond words."

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

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

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Tips parents need to know about poor air quality and caring for kids with asthma

There are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

When wildfires struck the West Coast in September 2020, there was a lot for parents to worry about. For parents of children with asthma, though, the danger could be even greater. "There are more than 400 toxins that are present in wildfire smoke. That can activate the immune system in ways that aren't helpful by both causing an inflammatory response and distracting the immune system from fighting infection," says Amy Oro, MD, a pediatrician at Stanford Children's Health. "When smoke enters into the lungs, it causes irritation and muscle spasms of the smooth muscle that is around the small breathing tubes in the lungs. This can lead to difficulty with breathing and wheezing. It's really difficult on the lungs."

With the added concern of COVID-19 and the effect it can have on breathing, many parents feel unsure about how to keep their children protected. The good news is that there are steps parents can take to keep their children as healthy as possible.

Here are tips parents need to know about how to deal with poor air quality when your child has asthma.

Minimize smoke exposure.

Especially when the air quality index reaches dangerous levels, it's best to stay indoors as much as possible. You can find out your area's AQI at AirNow.gov. An under 50 rating is the safest, but between 100-150 is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as children with asthma. "If you're being told to stay indoors, listen. If you can, keep the windows and doors closed," Oro says.

Do your best to filter the air.

According to Oro, a HEPA filter is your best bet to effectively clean pollutants from the air. Many homes are equipped with a built-in HEPA filter in their air conditioning systems, but you can also get a canister filter. Oro says her family (her husband and children all suffer from asthma) also made use of a hack from the New York Times and built their own filter by duct taping a HEPA furnace filter to the front of a box fan. "It was pretty disgusting what we accumulated in the first 20 hours in our fan," she says.

Avoid letting your child play outside or overly exert themselves in open air.

"Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

"COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

Most importantly, don't panic.

In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Dear 2020 baby: Thank you

This year has been a mess. But you've been the light in the darkness.

Sweet 2020 baby,

I just want to say thank you.

Because in many ways, this year has been a mess.

A bit of a disaster, really.

But you.

You've been the light in the darkness.

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