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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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As mamas, we naturally become the magic-makers for our families. We sing the songs that make the waits seem shorter, dispense the kisses that help boo-boos hurt less, carry the seemingly bottomless bags of treasures, and find ways to turn even the most hum-drum days into something memorable.

Sometimes it's on a family vacation or when exploring a new locale, but often it's in our own backyards or living rooms. Here are 12 ways to create magical moments with kids no matter where your adventures take you.


1. Keep it simple

Mary Poppins may be practically perfect in every way, but―trust us―your most magical memories don't require perfection. Spend the morning building blanket forts or break out the cookie cutters to serve their sandwich in a fun shape and you'll quickly learn that, for kids, the most magical moments are often the simplest.

2. Get on their level

Sometimes creating a memorable moment can be as easy as getting down on the floor and playing with your children. So don't be afraid to get on your hands and knees, to swing from the monkey bars, or turn watching your favorite movie into an ultimate snuggle sesh.

3. Reimagine the ordinary

As Mary says, "the cover is not the book." Teach your child to see the world beyond initial impressions by encouraging them to imagine a whole new world as you play―a world where the laundry basket can be a pirate ship or a pile of blankets can be a castle.

4. Get a little messy

Stomp in muddy puddles. Break out the finger paint. Bake a cake and don't worry about frosting drips on the counter. The messes will wait, mama. For now, let your children―and yourself―live in these moments that will all too soon become favorite memories.

5. Throw out the plan

The best-laid plans...are rarely the most exciting. And often the most magical moments happen by accident. So let go of the plan, embrace the unexpected, and remember that your child doesn't care if the day goes according to the schedule.

6. Take it outside

There's never a wrong time of year to make magic outside. Take a stroll through a spring rainstorm, catch the first winter snowflakes on your tongue, or camp out under a meteor shower this summer. Mother Nature is a natural at creating experiences you'll both remember forever.

7. Share your childhood memories

Chances are if you found it magical as a child, then your kids will too. Introduce your favorite books and movies (pro tip: Plan a double feature with an original like Mary Poppins followed with the sequel, Mary Poppins Returns!) or book a trip to your favorite family vacation spot from the past. You could even try to recreate photos from your old childhood with your kids so you can hang on to the memory forever.

8. Just add music

Even when you're doing something as humdrum as prepping dinner or tidying up the living room, a little music has a way of upping the fun factor. Tell Alexa to cue up your favorite station for a spontaneous family dance party or use your child's favorite movie soundtrack for a quick game of "Clean and Freeze" to pick up toys at the end of the day.

9. Say "yes"

Sometimes it can feel like you're constantly telling your child "no." While it's not possible to grant every request (sorry, kiddo, still can't let you drive the car!), plan a "yes" day for a little extra magic. That means every (reasonable) request gets an affirmative response for 24 hours. Trust us―they'll never forget it.

10. Let them take the lead

A day planned by your kid―can you imagine that? Instead of trying to plan what you think will lead to the best memories, put your kid in the driver's seat by letting them make the itinerary. If you have more than one child, break up the planning so one gets to pick the activity while the other chooses your lunch menu. You just might end up with a day you never expected.

11. Ask more questions

Odds are, your child might not remember every activity you plan―but they will remember the moments you made them feel special. By focusing the conversation on your little one―their likes, dislikes, goals, or even just craziest dreams―you teach them that their perspective matters and that you are their biggest fan.

12. Turn a bad day around

Not every magical moment will start from something good. But the days where things don't go to plan can often turn out to be the greatest memories, especially when you find a way to turn even a negative experience into a positive memory. So don't get discouraged if you wake up to rain clouds on your beach day or drop the eggs on the floor before breakfast―take a cue from Mary Poppins and find a way to turn the whole day a little "turtle."

Mary Poppins Returns available now on Digital & out on Blue-ray March 19! Let the magic begin in your house with a night where everything is possible—even the impossible ✨

After a pregnancy that is best described as uncomfortable, Jessica Simpson is finally done "Jess-tating" and is now a mama of three.

Baby Birdie Mae Johnson joined siblings Ace and Maxwell on Tuesday, March 19, Simpson announced via Instagram.

Simpson's third child weighed in at 10 pounds, 13 ounces.

Birdie's name is no surprise to Jessica's Instagram followers, who saw numerous references to the name in her baby shower photos and IG stories in the last few weeks.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to experts.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

At this moment in time, Simpson and her husband, former NFL player Eric Johnson, are probably busy counting little fingers and toes , which is great news because it means Simpson's toes can finally deflate. She's had a terrible time with swollen feet during this pregnancy, and was also hospitalized multiple times due to bronchitis in her final trimester.

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We're so glad to see Simpson's little Birdie has finally arrived!

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Spring is officially here and if you're looking for a way to celebrate the change in the season, why not treat the kids to some ice cream, mama?

DQ locations across the country (but not the ones in malls) are giving away free small vanilla cones today, March 20! So pack up the kids and get to a DQ near you.

And if you can't make it today, from March 21 through March 31, DQ's got a deal where small cones will be just 50 cents (but you have to download the DQ mobile app to claim that one).

Another chain, Pennsylvania-based Rita's Italian Ice is also dishing up freebies today, so if DQ's not your thing you can grab a free cup of Italian ice instead.

We're so excited that ice cream season is here and snowsuit season is behind us. Just a few short weeks and the kids will be jumping through the sprinklers.

Welcome back, spring. We've missed you!

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The woman who basically single-handedly taught the world to embrace vulnerability and imperfection is coming to Netflix and we cannot wait to binge whatever Brené Brown's special will serve up because we'll probably be better people after watching it.

It drops on April 19 and is called Brené Brown: The Call to Courage. If it has even a fraction of the impact of her books or the viral Ted talk that made her a household name, it's going to be life and culture changing.

Announcing the special on Instagram Brown says she "cannot believe" she's about to be "breaking some boundaries over at Netflix" with the 77-minute special.

Netflix describes the special as a discussion of "what it takes to choose courage over comfort in a culture defined by scarcity, fear and uncertainty" and it sounds exactly like what we need right now.

April 19 is still pretty far away though, so if you need some of Brown's wisdom now, check out her books on Amazon or watch (or rewatch) the 2010 Ted Talk that put her—and our culture's relationship with vulnerability and shame—in the national spotlight.

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown

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If Marie Kondo's Netflix show got people tidying up, Brown's Netflix special is sure to be the catalyst for some courageous choices this spring.

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My husband and I recently had a date night that included being away from our son overnight for the first time since he was born three years ago (but don't let your heads run away with a fantasy—we literally slept because we were exhausted #thisiswhatwecallfunnow). It was a combination of a late night work event, a feeling that we had to do something just for the two of us, and simple convenience. It would have taken hours to get home from the end of a very long day when we could just check into a hotel overnight and get home early the next day.

But before that night, I fretted about what to do. How would childcare work? No one besides me or my husband has put our son to bed, and we have never not been there when he wakes up in the morning.

Enter: Grandma.

I knew if there was any chance of this being successful, the only person that could pull it off is one of my son's favorite people—his grandmother. Grammy cakes. Gramma. We rely so much on these extended support systems to give us comfort and confidence as parents and put our kids at ease. Technically, we could parent without their support, but I'm so glad we don't have to.

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So as we walked out the door, leaving Grandma with my son for one night, I realized how lucky we are that she gets it...

She gets it because she always comes bearing delicious snacks. And usually a small toy or crayons in her bag for just the right moment when it's needed.

She gets it because she comes with all of the warmth and love of his parents but none of the baggage. None of the first time parent jitters and all of the understanding that most kids just have simple needs: to eat, play and sleep.

She gets it because she understands what I need too. The reassurance that my baby will be safe. And cared for.

She gets it because she's been in my shoes before. Decades ago, she was a nervous new mama too and felt the same worries. She's been exactly where we are.

She gets it because she shoos us away as we nervously say goodbye, calling out cheerfully, "Have fun, I've got this." And I know that she does.

She gets it because she will get down on the floor with him to play Legos—even though sometimes it's a little difficult to get back up.

She gets it because she will fumble around with our AppleTV—so different from her remote at home—to find him just the right video on Youtube that he's looking for.

She gets it because she diligently takes notes when we go through the multi-step bedtime routine that we've elaborately concocted, passing no judgment, and promising that she'll follow along as best as she can.

She gets it because she'll break the routine and lay next to him in bed when my son gets upset, singing softly in his ear until she sees his eyelids droop heavy and finally fall asleep.

She gets it because she'll text us to let us know when he's fallen asleep because she knows we'll be wondering.

She gets it because just like our son trusts us as his mom and dad, Grandma is his safe space. My son feels at ease with her—and that relaxes me, too.

She gets it because when we come home from our "big night out" the house will be clean. Our toddler's play table that always has some sort of sticky jelly residue on it will be spotless. The dishwasher empty. (Side note: She is my hero.)

She gets it because she shows up whenever we ask. Even when it means having to rearrange her schedule. Even when it means she has to sleep in our home instead of her own.

She gets it because even though she has her own life, she makes sure to be as involved in ours as she can. But that doesn't mean she gives unsolicited advice. It means that she's there. She comes to us or lets us come to her. Whenever we need her.

She gets it because she takes care of us, too. She's there to chat with at the end of a long day. To commiserate on how hard motherhood and working and life can be, but to also gently remind me, "These are the best days."

After every time Grandma comes over, she always leaves a family that feels so content. Fulfilled by her presence. The caretaking and nourishment (mental and food-wise) and warmth that accompanies her.

We know this is a privilege. We know we're beyond lucky that she is present and wants to be involved and gets it. We know that sometimes life doesn't work out like this and sometimes Grandma lives far away or is no longer here, or just doesn't get it. So we hold on. And appreciate every moment.

As Grandma leaves, I hug her tight and tell her, "I can't thank you enough. We couldn't have done this without you." Because we can't. And we wouldn't want to.

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