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Why Carrie Underwood works out with her son

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Before I became a mom, working out was something I did at the gym, and only at the gym. Excerise was a chore, not a part of my life. After I had my baby, workouts were done with a baby strapped to my chest, right there in my living room. Now that my 2-year-old son is too big to wear (and I’m too tired to go to the gym) getting excerise is even more challenging.


Parents know it can be hard to find time for fitness when you’re busy with the kids, but Carrie Underwood is one of many moms taking to Instagram to prove that working out with your kids is possible.

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The singer posted pics of 2-year-old Isaiah on Instagram in which he uses a resistance band with his mom and tries push-ups with his dad, hockey player Mike Fisher. "My boys make workouts fun (and a bit less productive, but that's ok)! #staythepath" she wrote in her post.

Incorporating Isaiah into workouts isn’t just great for Underwood’s schedule, but great for Isaiah, too—as other mamas also prove.

Take kinesiologist, personal trainer and lifestyle blogger Zehra Allibhai for example: She says exercising with your kids can help teach them that physical fitness doesn’t have to be separate from everything else in your life—it can simply be a part of your life.

“I think involving the kids in it is a great way for you to get your workout in, and a great way for you to instill these values in them,” says Allibhai. (Her 75,000 Instagram followers also love when she posts snapshots of her kid-friendly workout sessions!)

By making working out something you can do at home or on the playground instead of only at the gym (and when you have a babysitter), you remove one of the obstacles that keeps so many parents from getting active: alone time.

Allibhai admits that, yes, sometimes working out with your kids in the room may mean you’re not doing exactly the routine or circuit you had in mind. But it also means you’re building a bond while building your muscles. “It’s tough when you have a certain workout you want to get,” she says, suggesting that having kid-friendly items like skipping ropes and balls in your workout area can give your kids something to focus on while you get your reps.

Of course, fitness isn’t limited to workouts. Any time you can get physical with your kids—whether it's playing basketball or going for a bike ride—is good for your physical health and the health of your relationship.

“I grew up being active with my dad especially, but with my parents in general, and it’s just so nice to have those memories,” Allibhai says, explaining why she thinks all parents should make fitness a family affair.

Obviously that’s what Underwood is doing, and it’s likely little Isaiah will have plenty of good memories of getting active with mom and dad (and his parents won’t have to try to find time to hit the gym).

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Things We're Loving

Mornings can be so rough making sure everyone has what they need for the day and managing to get out the door on time. A recent survey by Indeed found that 60% of new moms say managing a morning routine is a significant challenge, and another new survey reveals just why that is.

The survey, by snack brand Nutri-Grain, suggests that all the various tasks and child herding parents take on when getting the family out the door in the morning adds up to basically an extra workday every week!

Many parents will tell you that it can take a couple of hours to get out of the house each morning person, and as the survey found, most of us need to remind the kids "at least twice in the morning to get dressed, brush their teeth, or put on their shoes."

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According to Nutri-Grain, by the end of the school year, the average parent will have asked their children to hurry up almost 540 times across the weekday mornings.

We totally get it. It's hard to wait on little ones when we have a very grown-up schedule to get on with, but maybe the world needs to realize that kids just aren't made to be fast.

As Rachel Macy Stafford, the author of Hands Free Mama, Hands Free Life, writes, having a child who wants to enjoy and marvel at the world while mama is trying to rush through it is hard.

"Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, 'We don't have time for this.' Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: 'Hurry up.'" she explains.

We're always telling our kids to hurry up, but maybe, maybe, we should be telling ourselves—and society—to slow down.

That's what Stafford did. She took "hurry up" out of her vocabulary and in doing so made that extra workday worth of time into quality time with her daughter, instead of crunch time. She worked on her patience, and let her daughter marvel at the world or slow down when she had to.

"To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young."

It's great advice, but unless we mamas can get the wider world on board, it's hard to put into practice. When the school bus comes at 7:30 am and you've gotta be at the office at 8 am, when the emails start coming before you're out of bed or your pay gets docked if you punch in five minutes late, it is hard to slow down.

So to those who are making the schedules the rest of us have to live by, to the employers and the school boards and the wider culture, we ask: Can we slow down?

Indeed's survey suggests that the majority of moms would benefit from a more flexible start time at work and the CDC suggests that starting school later would help students.

Mornings are tough for parents, but they don't have to be as hard as they are.

[This post was originally published May 17, 2019.]

News

Mom guilt is one of those things that hits us hard in the early days, and as the Duchess of Cambridge explains, it's also something that doesn't necessarily go away once your kids are school-age.

In a new interview on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast with Giovanna Fletcher, the former Kate Middleton was asked if she ever feels "mom guilt." The mom of the future king replied, "All the time."

Happy Mum Happy Baby on Instagram: “So... this happened. HAPPY MUM, HAPPY BABY with The Duchess of Cambridge will be available tomorrow from 4pm. The Duchess talks about her…”

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"I think anyone who doesn't ... is actually lying," the Duchess said, explaining that on that very morning Prince George and Princess Charlotte were disappointed that she wasn't able to be the one to drop them off at school that day.

Her experience proves that even mothers who seem to have everything going for them often don't feel like they're the "perfect" mom everyone else sees from the outside.

"You're always sort of questioning your own decisions and your own judgments and things like that. And I think that starts from the moment you have a baby," shared the Duchess.

That's, unfortunately, the truth for so many of us.

According to a 2013 survey of 2,000 moms in the United Kingdom by NUK, 87% of us feel guilty at some point, with 21% feeling this way most or all of the time. Sixty-nine percent of moms feel guilt over the ratio of their work-life balance, and 40% worry they're not devoting enough time to their children, also according to Nuk.

Stateside, American moms "seem to feel more pressure than moms in the other countries surveyed based on a higher level of agreement with statements reflecting parental confidence," according to a 2015 survey by Fisher-Price. In that survey,42% of U.S. moms polled felt that "properly caring for baby while taking care of myself and my responsibilities is a big challenge."

So many of us are feeling mom guilt, and it is time to ask ourselves why. If someone with all the privilege the Duchess of Cambridge can feel the guilt, then how can a mom who is feeling guilty for working overtime or having to buy the store-brand baby formula possibly not feel it?

Well, experts say it starts with accepting that you are doing the best you can, and channeling that guilt into something productive.

"We have all had our fair share of fails as parents. Whether we are running on three hours of sleep and literally can't stop the "Just go to sleep!" rant before it pops out, or we accidentally bonk little one on the head while lifting him from the car seat, I know we feel those moments even more than our precious babes," writes Dr. Holly Ruhl, a Developmental Psychologist.

"Can I remind you of all the times you've kissed the boo-boo and made it better, sat up with a sick child through the night, rocked a crying baby even though your eyes and your heart were heavy, fed your kids first to make sure there was enough before you ate, passed up what you wanted so you could buy that thing for your little one, loitered outside the halls of the school to make sure your kid was going to be okay, braved through tough conversations, and comforted an upset child?" Ruhl asks guilt-ridden mamas.

She continues: "Your kids aren't holding your mistakes against you. They love you—and more than anything—they want to see you smile. You're not a screw-up to them, you're their whole world."

Whether you are mom to the future King of England or a mom who works at Burger King, please know that you can only do so much and that your children will know how hard you worked for them.

As mama Rebecca Eanes once wrote, "You don't deserve all that guilt, mama." We feel all that underserved guilt in part because society's expectations for moms are unrealistic (if the Duchess can't live up to them, they definitely are). You can't be perfect all the time and you shouldn't feel guilty all the time for that. Even Kate is human.

A little bit of mom guilt is normal—we totally get how Kate's heartstrings would be pulled by an adorable Prince and Princess asking mama to do the school run—but overdosing on it isn't good for anybody. We're glad Kate sees that, and hope the world can, too.

News

There is so much joy in the world right now, even if our news feeds and the headlines in the paper don't always show it. Babies are being born, mothers are harnessing their power and children (yes, little children) are changing this big world.

That's why we are always on the lookout for the stories that are going to make us smile, because there are certainly things in this world that are upsetting and worth worrying about, but there is also so much joy, so much resilience and an amazing future ahead of us.

These are the stories that made us smile this week:

Mom's post goes viral after she gives baby advice meant for goats 😂

Have you ever replied to a post in an online group thinking you're in another one? It's happened to a lot of us, but never quite as hilariously as it happened to Hailey McHone.

McHone is a member of multiple Facebook groups, including a mom's group and a group for goat owners. When someone needed advice about an ill kid (which, to be fair, can mean a young human or a young goat) McHone replied with goat advice, thinking she was in that group.

"Put the kids in a plastic bag in a warm bath. 103-104 degree water is the best. Rub honey and cayenne on their gums," she wrote.

When one of the Facebook group members asked why a parent would want to raise an infant's temperature, McHone realized her mistake.

"[O]h my god," she wrote. "I thought this was in my goat emergency group. Normal goat temperature is 102. All this advice is for baby goats. Please do not follow any of it."

McHone's advice may not have been what OP was looking for, but it sure made the rest of the group (and now the whole internet) crack up.

2-year-old sees himself reflected in Target display and his reaction went viral 

Representation matters for kids with disabilities, as nearly 2-year-old Oliver Garza-Pena and his mom demonstrated with their now-viral post about a trip to Target.

"Oliver stopped me dead in his tracks and turned back around to see this picture that he spotted! He just stared at it in awe! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing on a display at Target. Oliver sees kids every day, but he never gets to see kids like him. This was amazing!" his mom, Demi Garza-Pena, wrote on Facebook, in a post that has been shared more than 34,000 times.

Oliver's experience is similar to one writer Jamie Sumner had with her then 6-year-old son Charlie at Target back in 2018.

"But when we rolled past the Cat and Jack sign with the little boy in the walker, it became a different kind of day. For Charlie, who has cerebral palsy, it was the moment he saw his own lifestyle reflected in the world."

Thank you, Target, for including kids who move through the world a little differently.

This little girl is going viral and providing 'more than peach' crayons

When Bellen Woodard was in third grade she began to wonder why classmates would refer to the peach crayon as "skin-color" when skin comes in so many colors besides peach. That's why she launched the "More Than Peach" project, aiming to celebrate and highlight diversity by giving kids the art supplies they need to draw what they see in the mirror, at home and in the classroom.

Multicultural crayon and marker packs do exist thanks to Crayola and the company is now helping Bellen put diverse art supplies in the hands of her elementary school peers in Loudoun County, Virgina.

Thank you, Bellen!

Sisters go viral after giving birth on the same day, in the same hospital 

What's better than having twin? Having a "cousin-twin"! That's what sisters Charell Anthony and Cierra Anthony of Indianapolis call their little ones, Terry Valentino (Charell's newborn son) and Dream Monique (Cierra's newborn daughter).

Terry and Dream were born on February 12 at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis, Good Morning America reports. "They're going to be really close," Charell told GMA. "Being born on the same day, that's going to be really special for them."

It was a special memory for the extended family, who were going back and forth between the two hospital rooms and could not believe the timing. "They were so excited," said Cierra.

Viral Instagram photo series shows surrogacy birth creating a family + a friendship

Olatz Mendiola Marinas of San Sebastian, Spain, wanted so badly to be a mother and Celeste Remediz of Texas made her one. Now the two women are connected by a bond most can't conceive of, one that was documented by photographer Stephanie Cabrera of Reborn From Within, who was there for the birth of baby Kala and posted her photos on Instagram.

"I feel so lucky to get to witness how amazing the love between people can be. Surrogacy is something I've always admired, to provide someone with the gift of love, a gift more precious than any other gift in the world is incredibly special," Cabrera, the photographer, tells Motherly.

The surrogate, Celeste Remediz, a former Dallas police officer, told Good Morning America that she found out about her own third pregnancy a bit late in the game, around 5 months along, and felt a bit robbed of the pregnancy experience because of that. Three kids were enough for Remediz and her husband, but she wanted to be pregnant again.

"After the birth of our daughter, I told my husband that if she was to be our last child, I felt I had missed out on half of the pregnancy and didn't get to fully enjoy it and take it all in. I love being pregnant and enjoyed all my pregnancies," Remediz told GMA.

Credit: Stephanie Cabrera/ Reborn From Within

Remediz continues: "I realized then, that if my husband and I were done growing our family, I could be pregnant again and help someone else grow theirs through surrogacy. My husband agreed to support me and we found the agency who did an amazing job matching us to Olatz."

The two women became super close.

"Since I knew Celeste was going to be the surrogate mother, we started to talk regularly on the phone and got along well very quickly," said Marinas, the intended mother. "I had the chance to live with Celeste three weeks before giving birth and to be fully involved in her family['s] daily life, which really allowed me to get to know her well, support her and share her feelings on a daily basis."

Remediz says she was elated when the baby she'd just given birth to was placed in Marinas's arms. "I felt like the baby's aunt or something but never like her mother. This journey has been one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done and has taught me so much," she explains.

Credit: Stephanie Cabrera/ Reborn From Within

Cabrera says she was inspired by the two mothers who shared a birth and shared their story, and plans to continue capturing birth stories like this one to show the world that there are so many ways to become a mother, and so many ways to support mothers.

"My family and I will be traveling full-time the next few years in our old restored Volkswagen bus and by plane. During this time I will be documenting various individuals during their prenatal, birth and postpartum process. One of my biggest goals is to highlight all of the inspiring birth workers and organizations that greatly improve birth outcomes for everyone especially for people of color and low-income communities that are so often marginalized and at higher risk for maternal and infant mortality. This documentation will also take me across borders to document birthing traditions in other countries and cultures," Cabrera tells Motherly.

These are three incredible women and such incredible pictures.

News

For a long time the first photo the public would see of a celebrity who'd recently given birth was a carefully staged, lit and edited bikini photo under headlines about how she "got her body back." But today, celebs are turning the tables on this old trope, sharing their bodies and stories on their terms through social media.

We love this trend so much.

We love it because it helps postpartum mamas accept and love their own reflections, and because the next generation of moms won't grow up thinking that bumps disappear within days, and will know there is nothing wrong with them when the bump (and the stretch marks and scars) sticks around.

Check out these celebrity mamas who are honestly sharing their postpartum experience (and taking the pressure off the rest of us).

Ashley Graham

Model Ashley Graham has been super open about her postpartum body and we love her for it.

These stretch marks are on display on her Instagram grid and they are beautiful. She captioned the shot: "Same me. Few new stories."

We love how real Graham is about her postpartum experience, stretch marks and all.

Daphne Oz

Daphne Oz just had a baby 10 weeks before she posted this shot, so she was slowly returning to her workout routine. We love that, because she was giving her body time to heal. Giving birth is hard on the body!

"I'm not in a rush, I just want to start to feel my core again and strength in my skin. consistency and baby steps get it done," Oz wrote in an Instagram caption, noting that when she snapped this selfie she had just finished the second workout she's had since welcoming her youngest, Gigi.

This isn't the first time Daphne Oz has been refreshingly honest about postpartum life 

But this isn't the first time Oz has been super real about her expectations for her postpartum body. After having her third child, daughter Domenica, back in January 2018, the former co-host of The Chew posted a mirror selfie that sums up how so many fourth trimester mamas feel.

"Seven weeks post partum [sic], still looking three months pregnant," she captioned her photo. "There is no bounce-back, it's all onwards and upwards."

For the record, she still looked amazing in that pic. Both of these photos are amazing.

Katrina Scott

Tone It Up co-founder Katrina Scott has a degree in Health Promotion and Fitness. She knows her stuff and is using her platform to teach other mamas the truth about postpartum fitness: It takes time to for our bodies to build back core and pelvic floor strength, even if fitness is literally your business!

On an episode of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Scott explained: "We need to change the conversation with everyone and with ourselves and realize how cool it is that our bodies are different."

Ayesha Curry

In a recent interview with Working Mother Curry, a mom of three, explained that since becoming a mom when she's been depressed about her body, and struggled with her body, and regrets the decision to get her "boobs done" after her second daughter was weaned.

"The intention was just to have them lifted, but I came out with these bigger boobs I didn't want," she explains, adding that she's now trying to give her body more love and teach her kids to love what they see in the mirror, too.

"I'm not thin; I'm 170 pounds on a good day. It's been a journey for me, and that's why I want my girls to understand who they are—and to love it."

Chrissy Teigen 

Chrissy is a queen. We love how real she was about postpartum panties after Miles was born in May 2018, and she's never been shy about her stretch marks.

In March of 2019 she took to Twitter to talk about her postpartum body and how the former swimsuit model is in a new season of life, one where she's a mom of two and a cookbook author who unapologetically loves food.

"I am 20 pounds heavier than I was before Miles," she wrote. "[H]e's 10 months old. I never lost the last bit because I just love food too much. Just coming to terms with my new normal, when I had this certain number for so long!"

Kate Hudson 

Kate Hudson is basically fitness personified, but she's been super real about her postpartum recovery since the birth of daughter Rani Rose in October 2018.

A few short years ago the first picture the public saw of a celebrity postpartum looked a lot less real than this, but Hudson's honesty is part of a refreshing change in celebrity culture.

The era of headlines about celebrities "bouncing back" after pregnancy is behind us, and it's refreshing to see Hudson admitting that a mother's body doesn't change overnight after she gives birth.

Tia Mowry 

At seven weeks postpartum in June 2018, Tia Mowry explained how not seeing realistic postpartum images during her first pregnancy in 2011 negatively impacted her, so she chose to share her real body to help other mothers (and future mothers) understand that so-called snapbacks are an illusion.

"I remember after giving birth to Cree, my belly didn't all of a sudden go flat. I did have a C-Section, (as well as with my second pregnancy) and I thought something was wrong with me. I had seen in magazines the many women on the beach a few weeks #postpartum in a two piece. To be honest, it had to take time for me to embrace my new body. With this second pregnancy, I now have embraced that fact that I've housed a human being. A miracle. A life. If it takes a while for me to get back to my normal self, than so be it. This.Is.Me. And I love me."

Ali Manno

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In July 2018 former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky Manno posted what she called her "most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," showing her real postpartum belly to the world after welcoming her second child two months earlier.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky wrote.

Desiree  Siegfried 

Another mama from Bachelor nation, Desiree Siegfried also posted a post-baby mirror selfie at four days postpartum.

"So here I am 4 days postpartum looking like I'm still pregnant but feeling like a supermodel/ warrior," she captioned her pic.

Jessie James Decker

Jessie James Decker's postpartum mirror pic was a little further out, and shows that bumps sick around for a long time after birth and that's totally normal and okay.

"Keepin it real! 3 weeks post and I'm still very swollen. The 3rd has been by far the hardest recovery, but I'm feeling stronger every day," Decker wrote after the birth of her youngest in April 2018.

Jenny Mollen

Actress and author Jenny Mollen is known for sharing pretty much everything on Instagram, so it's no surprise that IG followers got to see her c-section scar In October 2017, at two weeks postpartum.

"I wish somebody had shown me a pic like this 9 months ago," Mollen wrote.

[This post was originally published March 3, 2019. It has been updated.]

News
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