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Being a parent at any stage in life is not easy – especially when you’re parenting children who are on the cusp of adulthood.


It’s that ambiguous, awkward, and terrifying place where you’re not quite an adult, yet no longer a child. The time when life is both full of wonder and endless possibilities, and full of heartbreaking emotional truths.

I think back to that time – way back – when I had my whole life ahead of me. I couldn’t wait to be out on my own, making my own decisions and conquering the world. I thought I had it all figured out at age 20. How wrong I was. 

Yes, I had my independence, but not nearly enough life experience to keep me from falling down more times than I really want to admit. I wish I knew what I know now – I could have had fewer bruises and scrapes to deal with.

It has taken me 40-some years, countless mistakes, and a whole lot of Band-Aids to figure out that most of life’s lessons are simply common sense. But when you’re a young 20-year-old girl looking at the big, wide, terrifying, and exciting world in front of you, common sense sometimes goes right out the window.

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What I want for my daughter and son to know as they navigate their early adult life, is that life can be full of beautiful experiences. Life itself is neither positive or negative; it is what each of them will put into it and how they respond to situations that will make their lives seem good or bad. 

My children need to learn that two people can be put through the same situation, yet each will respond in dramatically different ways. They need to realize they have the final choice in how they respond or react to what life throws at them. When they stumble (and they will), I want them to know it’s okay to pick themselves up, dust themselves off,  and continue on their journey.

I want them to always remember these 20 bits of wisdom – and to call home every once in a while:

1 | Life is not fair.

Life is life. Even when you do everything right, sometimes things will not work out the way you planned. Someone else might get that promotion or opportunity you should have gotten. Some people are born into this world with everything at their disposal and some are born into unfortunate situations. It may not seem fair, but life rarely is. You don’t have the power to control everything that happens to you, but you have the power to control how you react to the unfairness in life.

2 | If you want to be an adult, then act like an adult and tackle adult responsibilities.  

Adulthood has many freedoms, but with each freedom there is an equal responsibility to go along with it. In adulthood, you will have to do things you don’t want to and deal with things you don’t want to deal with. Learn to accept this and you will always have clean laundry and money to pay your bills.

3 | Growth doesn’t stop when you become an adult.

Being an adult and reaching your full potential means constantly learning and growing. Embrace learning something new every day, challenge yourself to go beyond what you think is possible and be willing to adopt new life philosophies. Twenty years from now, you will want to have grown rich with life experiences and wisdom.

4 | If you make a mess, learn to clean it up.

I’m not talking about household chores (but yes, you should clean up your messes and make your bed). I’m talking more about taking responsibility for your mistakes. We all make mistakes, but taking personal responsibility for them and making amends is what allow us to mature.

5 | Opportunities don’t fall in your lap, but they are always placed within your reach.

It’s up to you to take action and reach out to grab on to every opportunity.

6 | There is a difference between “can’t” and “won’t.”

Can you or won’t you? Won’t means you are choosing not to do something you can or will be able to learn eventually. Ask yourself – and be honest – is it something you simply don’t want to do, or is it something you truly do not have the skills to accomplish? Change the “won’t” to “will” and you’ll see that you actually can.

7 | Successful people will do things that unsuccessful people will not.

If you’re not willing to do the work or do what is necessary to be successful, then you never will be. If something is truly worth having (that degree, a new business, a healthier body, etc.) and you want it bad enough, no excuse or road block will keep you from reaching your goal.

8 | Allow yourself to have experiences. Try everything and don’t be afraid to fail.

If you’ve never tried something, how do you know you don’t like it? Some of life’s greatest moments will happen when you say “yes.” Fear of failure will keep you from acting on opportunities that could lead to success. Even if you fail, you will learn valuable life lessons that will give you the experience to succeed at something else.

9 | What you focus on, you will attract. 

You have the power to attract what you want. If you want a positive life, focus on everything that is positive.

10 | Be that someone. 

Don’t wait around for someone else to do something, take action and be that someone.

11 | Do something kind every day.

When you are kind to others, kindness is returned to your life.

12 | Be grateful. 

There is always something to be grateful for. The more grateful you are about what you have, the less you will need to actually be happy.

13 | Everyone has a bad moment or day, never let any situation define your outlook on life. 

Remember everyone has good moments too.

14 | It’s okay to cry. 

Even the strongest people will reach their breaking point and need to let it all out. Allow yourself to experience this moment and know that it is okay to cry and to feel pain. When the moment passes, remind yourself that with any storm, there is always an end and the skies will turn sunny again.

15 | Never be ashamed of your past or a mistake you’ve made.

You can’t change the past, but you must learn from it. Don’t let shame rule your life, nearly everyone has done something they wish they could change.

16 | Learn to forgive yourself and others.

We all make mistakes and no one is perfect. Forgiving is not forgetting. Forgiving gives you the freedom to let go of negative feelings so that you can move forward with a healthy mind.

17 | Take care of yourself.

You are only given one body, take care of it. Wear sunscreen, eat healthy, exercise, get regular check-ups, allow yourself a down day, meditate. When you are middle-aged or beyond, you will be thankful.

18 | Be passionate about something.

Have a hobby; embrace life. Passion is the fuel for a positive life and makes you more interesting to others.

19 | Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

Everyone has their own talents, abilities, and life to deal with. Focus on being a better you and not on how you “rank” with others. You will live a much happier life if you remember this.

20 | Most importantly, remember that you are worthy of love and have so much to offer the world.

Never allow anyone to treat you poorly or convince you that you do not matter. You were born for a purpose and to leave this earth better off than when you arrived.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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Sometimes it can feel like toys are a mama's frenemy. While we love the idea of entertaining our children and want to give them items that make them happy, toys can end up taking the joy out of our own motherhood experience. For every child begging for another plastic figurine, there's a mama who spends her post-bedtime hours digging toys out from under the couch, dining room table and probably her own bed.

Like so many other moms, I've often found myself between this rock and hard place in parenting. I want to encourage toys that help with developmental milestones, but struggle to control the mess. Is there a middle ground between clutter and creative play?

Enter: Lovevery.

lovevery toys

Lovevery Play Kits are like the care packages you wish your child's grandparent would send every month. Expertly curated by child development specialists, each kit is crafted to encourage your child's current developmental milestones with beautiful toys and insightful activity ideas for parents. A flip book of how-tos and recommendations accompanies each box, giving parents not only tips for making the most of each developmental stage, but also explaining how the games and activities benefit those growing brains.

Even better, the toys are legitimately beautiful. Made from eco-friendly, sustainable materials materials and artfully designed, I even find myself less bothered when my toddler leaves hers strewn across the living room floor.

What I really love, though, is that the kits are about so much more than toys. Each box is like a springboard of imaginative, open-ended play that starts with the included playthings and expands into daily activities we can do during breakfast or while driving to and from lessons. For the first time, I feel like a company isn't just trying to sell me more toys―they're providing expert guidance on how to engage in educational play with my child. And with baby kits that range from age 0 to 12 months and toddler kits for ages 13 to 24 months, the kits are there for me during every major step of development I'll encounter as a new mama.

So maybe I'll never love toys―but I will always love spending time with my children. And with Lovevery's unique products, mixing those worlds has become child's play.


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

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One hour.

That's all this summer goal requires. It requires pretty much no planning or bucket list-making or thought, other than keeping your eyes open for opportunity. This hour will find you.

I figured out the impact of this hour when we spent last weekend at a water park while my son played lacrosse. Going back and forth from game to hotel water park all weekend left us feeling disjointed and exhausted. It was lots of fun, but I was just tired at the end of it. Every bone in my body couldn't wait to get home.

My kids, however, who can run all day and still not be tired, really wanted just one more hour in the water park. This meant I'd have to put on my bathing suit. We had to check out of our room, so if we stayed, we'd have to change in the damp, icky changing area. My hair would be wet. The water park was so loud. Not one thing about the idea of staying sounded appealing to me.

But still, they wanted to stay. They looked at us with hopeful eyes, begging for the fun to continue. Pretty much every other family was headed home. But we made a decision that changed how I am looking at my whole summer – and, really, how I'm looking at how my role as a parent.

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We stayed the extra hour. I am not exaggerating when I say it made all the difference.

I dug deep and decided I was going to be Fun Mom for an hour. I could have been Sit-in-a-chair-and-half-heartedly-watch-their-antics Mom for an hour, but I decided that would be a waste. If I wasn't going home, I was going to really be there for an hour. I was going to get my hair wet and not complain. For one hour, I was basically going to be a kid.

And it was So. Much. Fun.

I realized how important this hour was about 10 minutes in, when I found myself racing up the steps of the kiddie water slide area, chasing after Sam, plotting how I could adjust my way of sliding to finally beat him in our water slide race. I was ALL IN at that moment.

When I said I would slide with him, Sam's eyes lit right up and his little arms shot up in the air with a giant “YES!" He wanted to have fun with me. In that moment, I was not just Fun Mom. I was Fun Amy.

Having fun with your kids allows you to see them in a whole new light. I watched Sam use his God-given giant load of energy to run and run and run and embrace that hour, so much that I think he may be a fun genius.

I watched Kate fearlessly whip down water slides that made me scream like a baby. She held my hand. She was the one who was brave. She had no fear, and her fierce independence and determination made me feel lucky to be her friend for an hour.

I watched Thomas take Sam under his wing when it was his turn for slide races. I watched him teach Sam new water tricks and happily play in the kiddie area with reckless abandon, being kind and awesome to his brother at every turn.

I watched Ellie and Lily with their arms around each other, best friends for this sacred hour. I went down sides with each of them and floated through the lazy river as we all chatted, without a care in the world.

I held Todd's hand and rode down a slide with him in a double tube, just like in our dating days, our kids watching from behind, rolling their eyes with huge grins on their faces, hopefully seeing that marriage is more than making lunches and carting them around – that marriage is having actual fun with each other.

Spend the hour, my friends.

This hour reminded me how awesome it is to be the fun mom, to just be human with your kids. It reminded me how amazing it can be to say yes.

Sure, I could have used that hour to start on the massive pile of laundry we brought home. And full disclosure: We pushed ourselves to the point that there was plenty of super tired whining and complaining when we drove home. That hour could have saved us from having to stop for a little treat on the way home because now dinner was too far away. The house might have been cleaner and my people fed on time and in bed earlier had we not spent the hour.

But the laundry and the whining and the feeding of the people will always be there. That hour of fun was not only priceless. It was fleeting, like a feather in the wind we could catch if we tried. And we did.

Your hour may not be water park fun. This may sound like sheer torture to you. But your hour can be anything. And seriously, it's just an hour. We can do anything for an hour.

Thinking back, I remember my parents taking this same hour with us. My dad raced from roller coaster to roller coaster with my more adventurous siblings. My mom became more fun than any teenage shopping buddy we had. They spent the time. They took the hour. And we have amazing family memories because of it.

Life tries to drum that hour out of us. It tries to make us believe that getting stuff done is the ultimate prize. I am all for folded laundry and an empty sink and kids who are asleep at bedtime. But don't let life keep you from taking an hour here and there.

Find what you love, share it with your kids, say yes even when every bone in your old and weary body says no. Let your kids hear you scream like a kid going down a water slide. Get your hair wet. Eat ice cream for dinner. Play a family game of tag at the park as the sun goes down.

Show your kids you are more than a task master who cares too much about beds being made. Show them that you are not just the adult who wants them to entertain themselves at the water park while you sit in a hot tub (although I did that this weekend, too, and it was amazing).

Show them that family is fun, and that fun can actually come first. Show them the kid in you. It will bond you together in a whole new way.

Make it your goal this summer to take the hour. Those moments will make all the difference. And it's the moments that will change your family forever.

This post was originally published on Hiding in the Closet with Coffee.

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Breastfeeding is not easy. But neither is weaning. That's why this powerful photo from Brazilian mama Maya Vorderstrasse is going viral. Her husband captured the first time she ever breastfed their second daughter and next to it, almost two years later, the last time she fed their daughter from her breast.

And it's not just the photo that is powerful. In her caption Maya shares her emotional struggles with weaning and the tricks they used to make this transition easier for their youngest daughter. The caption reads:

"The first and last time my precious daughter ever nursed.

I didn't know that one person could feel so proud and so broken at the same time, right now I am a hormonal, emotional, and mental mess.

Raising my arm in this picture was very difficult for me as I had to fight through uncontrollable tears: this picture meant that I would never breastfeed my daughter ever again. I have been nursing for so long, that I don't know what it's like to not nurse anymore.



As I looked behind the camera, my husband is crying like I had never seen him cry before, like seriously, a deep gut cry. I was her comfort, her safe place, and I hope she still finds me that way. A month shy of 2 years old, she finally has a bed in a shared bedroom with her sister. We bought her her first bed, used any distraction we could come up with, snacks and new toys to keep her mind off of it.

My husband has taken over bedtime completely, including all nighttime wakings. We are on our third day, and every day gets a little bit easier. The guilt I feel for not putting her to bed is so intense and I can't wait to go back to it once she doesn't ask to nurse anymore. Closing a chapter is painful, but I am hopeful that this new season of our lives will also be special in its own way.

Through this maturation step she will not only grow more independent, but I will get a much needed break. She unlatched for the last time and sobbingly I said to my husband: "I did my best". He hugged me and responded with: "No. You did THE best, because you gave her your all". I love my family and am so thankful for such special and unforgettable moments like these. 💛

*my lazy boob has no clue about what's going on, but thoughts and prayers are accepted for my good one, I really think it might explode🤱🏻

**thank you to my husband, for insisting on filming this, I will treasure this forever.🤳🏼👩"

You've got this mama!

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If you're looking for basics for the kids for summer, you're in luck, mama. Primary clothes don't have logos or sparkles—they're classic prints and colors that can easily transition from one kid to the next. And this week, Primary is celebrating the new season with a major summer sale.

Items, like swimsuits, dresses, polos and more, are over 50% off. Most pieces are under $10 so you can stock up on an entire new wardrobe without breaking the budget.

Here's what we're adding to our carts—shop the entire sale here:

1. Baby rainbow stripe rash guard

With UPF 50, you can rest easy knowing baby has extra protection outdoors.

$14.50

SHOP

2. The track short

The easy pull-on waist will make outfit changes a breeze.

$10.50

SHOP

3. Rainbow stripe one-piece

Cute? Check. Will stay in place? Check. UPF 50? Check.

$18.00

SHOP

4. The short sleeve twirly dress

Made of 100% cotton jersey, this one will be a staple all summer long.

$10.00

SHOP

5. The polo babysuit

Perfect to dress up or down.

$8.00

SHOP

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Being an adult is no joke. Beyond dressing ourselves and our kids and, ya know, feeding and bathing the family, there are so many other things that life throws at us. And because we're adults, we have to take care of these myriad to-dos. Welcome to: Adulting!

I'm not just talking about laundry, filling up the gas tank and stocking the fridge with groceries, but those tasks that always get pushed back. Getting life insurance. Refinancing your loan debt. (Students loans? Us, too.) Signing up for marriage counseling.

But guess what? These seemingly heavy-lift tasks are now a whole lot easier and faster to tackle. Here's how to check off your most tedious adulting chores.

The life insurance

When you're single with no descendants, life insurance might not seem like a top priority. But when you suddenly have a kid (or three), setting your family up for financial success is a must. And thanks to Ladder, obtaining a policy isn't the taxing, cringe-inducing process it used to be! It's modern and easy to use—seriously, you can even sign up for a policy from your phone or tablet. Ladder makes it possible to obtain a policy in under five minutes. Yes, really. See? No need to procrastinate!

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The student loan redux

You have the degree and the career and you also have the debt. And like us, you're likely just paying your monthly minimums without considering refinancing your student loans—because that sounds hard and complicated. Laurel Road simplifies the process. You can check your rates in only a few minutes (and don't worry, doing so won't impact to your credit score!).

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The marriage counselor

Did you know that 66% of couples report a drop in marital satisfaction when baby arrives? It's not surprising that an infant can cause stress for mama, but all that pressure can affect your relationship, too. Taking the time to really invest in marriage counseling often falls to the bottom of the to-do lists because of the many hurdles—finding a therapist, traveling to appointments, the cost of copays or out-of-pocket fees, the stigma around it all. With Lasting, however, you and your partner pair your apps and can begin working on your relationship together on your own timeline.

LEARN MORE

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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