A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

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.

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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Going back to work after having a baby is hard. Regaining your footing in a world where working mothers are so often penalized is tough, and (just like most things during the postpartum period) it takes time.

The challenges we face as working women returning from a maternity leave can be so different from those we faced before, it can feel like we're starting over from scratch. But mothers will not be deterred, even if our return to the working world doesn't go exactly as planned.

We are resilient, as Serena Williams proved at Wimbledon this weekend.

She lost to Angelique Kerber in the final, just 10 months after welcoming daughter Alexis Olympia and recovering from a physically and emotionally traumatic birth experience.

Williams didn't get her eighth Wimbledon title this weekend, but when we consider all the challenges she (and all new moms) faced in resuming her career, her presence was still a huge achievement.

"It was such an amazing tournament for me, I was really happy to get this far!" Williams explained in an emotional post-match interview.

"For all the moms out there, I was playing for you today. And I tried. I look forward to continuing to be back out here and doing what I do best."

The loss at Wimbledon isn't what she wanted, of course, but Williams says it does not mean there won't be wins in her near future.

"These two weeks have showed me I can really compete and be a contender to win grand slams. This is literally just the beginning. I took a giant step at Wimbledon but my journey has just began."

When asked what she hopes other new moms take away from her journey, Williams noted her postpartum recovery was really difficult, and hopes that other moms who face challenges early in motherhood know that they don't have to give up on whatever dreams they have for themselves, whether it involves working or not.

"Honestly, I feel like if I can do it, they can do it. I'm just that person, that vessel that's saying, 'You can be whatever you want to be.' If you want to go back to workand to me, after becoming a mom, I feel like there's no pressure to do that because having a child is a completely full-time job," she said.

"But to those that do want to go back, you can do it, you can really do it."

Thank you, Serena. You may not have won, but this was still a victory.

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Since baby Crew became the newest member of Chip and Joanna Gaines' family three weeks ago, his proud parents have been keeping the world updated, sharing sweet snaps of their youngest and even giving us a glimpse into his nursery.

Now, Chip Gaines is showing off a pic that proves there is nothing cuter than a floppy, sleepy baby.

"My heart is full..." the proud father of five captioned the photo he posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Earlier this week Crew's mama shared how she gets him so sleepy in the first place, posting an Instagram Story showing how she walks around the family's gardens on their Waco, Texas farm to lull her newborn boy to sleep.

The couple are clearly enjoying every single moment of Crew's babyhood. As recently as 7 days ago Chip was still sporting his hospital bracelet. Joanna says with each child he's worn his maternity ward ID until it finally wears off. We can't blame Chip for wanting to make the newborn phase last as long as possible.

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It was a changing table must-have a generation ago, but these days, many parents are forgoing baby powder, and now, the leading manufacturer of the sweet smelling powder was dealt a big financial blow.

Johnson & Johnson was just ordered to pay almost $4.7 billion to 22 women who sued, alleging baby powder caused their ovarian cancer.

A St. Louis jury says the women are right, but what does The American Academy of Pediatrics say about baby powder?

It was classified "a hazard" before many of today's parents were even born

The organization has actually been recommending against baby powder for years, but not due to cancer risks, but inhalation risks.

Way back in 1981 the AAP declared baby powder "a hazard," issuing a report pointing out the frequency of babies aspirating the powder, which can be dangerous and even fatal in the most severe cases.

That warning didn't stop all parents from using the powder though, as its continued presence on store shelves to this day indicates.

In 1998 Dr. Hugh MacDonald, then the director of neonatology at Santa Monica Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Fetus and Newborn, told the Los Angeles Times "Most pediatricians recommend that it not be used," adding that the consensus at the time was that "anybody using talcum powder be aware that it could cause inhalation of the talc, resulting in a pneumonic reaction."

Recent updates

A 2015 update to the AAP's Healthy Children website suggests the organization was even very recently still more concerned about the risk of aspiration than cancer risks like those alleged in the lawsuit. It suggests that parents who choose to use baby powder "pour it out carefully and keep the powder away from baby's face [as] published reports indicate that talc or cornstarch in baby powder can injure a baby's lungs."

In a 2017 interview with USA Today, Dr. David Soma, a pediatrician with the Mayo Clinic Children's Hospital, explained that baby powder use had decreased a lot over the previous five to eight years, but he didn't believe it was going to disappear from baby shower gift baskets any time soon.

"There are a lot of things that are used out of a matter of tradition, or the fact it seems to work for specific children," he said. "I'm not sure if it will get phased out or not, until we know more about the details of other powders and creams and what works best for skin conditions—I think it will stick around for a while."

Talc-based baby powder is the kind alleged to have caused ovarian cancer in the lawsuit (which Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal), but corn starch varieties of baby powder are also available and not linked to increased cancer risks as alleged in the case.

Bottom line: If you are going to use baby powder on your baby's bottom, make sure they're not getting a cloud of baby powder in their face, and if you're concerned, talk to your health care provider about alternative methods and products to use on your baby's delicate skin.

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In the days since a The New York Times report revealed a resolution meant to encourage breastfeeding was blocked by U.S. delegates at the World Health Assembly, breastfeeding advocates, political pundits, parents, doctors—and just about everyone else—have been talking about breastfeeding, and whether or not America and other countries are doing enough to support it.

The presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians say the controversy at the World Health Assembly reveals that mothers need more support when it comes to breastfeeding, while others, including The Council on Foreign Relations, suggest the national conversation needs more nuance, and less focus on the "breast is best" rhetoric.

The one thing everyone agrees on is that parents need more support when it comes to infant feeding, and in that respect, the controversy over the World Health Assembly resolution may be a good thing.

In their joint letter to the editor published in the New York Times this week, the presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians, Dr. Colleen Kraft and Dr. Lisa Hollier urge "the United States and every country to protect, promote and support breast-feeding for the health of all women, children and families."

The doctors go on to describe how breastfeeding "provides protection against newborn, infant and child infections, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and sudden infant death syndrome," and note the health benefits to mothers, including reduced risks for "breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

"Helping mothers to breastfeed takes a multifaceted approach, including advancing public policies like paid family leave, access to quality child care, break time and a location other than a bathroom for expressing milk," say Kraft and Hollier.

Certainly such policies would support breastfeeding mothers (and all mothers) in America, but some critics say framing the discussion around domestic policy is a mistake, because the World Health Assembly resolution is a global matter and women and babies in other parts of the world face very different feeding challenges than we do here at home.

In an op-ed published by CNN, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations suggests the laudable goal of breastfeeding promotion can backfire when mothers in conflict-riddled areas can't access formula due to well-meaning policy. Lemmon points to a 2017 statement by Doctors Without Borders calling for fewer barriers to formula distribution in war-torn areas.

"International organizations like UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) promote breastfeeding ... and provide infant formula, but only by prescription. We believe that distributing infant formula in a conflict situation like Iraq is the only way to avoid children having to be hospitalized for malnutrition," Manuel Lannaud, the head of Doctors Without Borders Iraq mission wrote.

The various viewpoints presented this week prove that infant feeding is not a black and white issue, and policy debates should not be framed as formula versus breast milk—there is more nuance than that.

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics found opting to supplement with formula after first breastfeeding improves outcomes for infants and results in higher rates of breastfeeding afterward, and while the benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, they are sometimes overstated. Another recent study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found breastfeeding has no impact on a child's overall neurocognitive function by the time they are 16. Basically, parents should not be shamed for supplementing or choosing to use formula.

This, according to Department of Health and Human Services says national spokesperson Caitlin Oakley is why the HHS opposed the original draft of the breastfeeding resolution at the World Health Assembly (although critics and the initial NYT report suggest the United States delegation were acting in the interests of infant formula manufacturers).

"Many women are not able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons, these women should not be stigmatized; they should be equally supported with information and access to alternatives for the health of themselves and their babies," Oakley said in a statement.

That's true, but so is everything the presidents of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians presented in their op-ed, and that's why the U.S. should support breastfeeding policy.

Here's another truth: This is an issue with many perspectives and many voices. And we need to hear them all, because all parents need support in feeding their babies, whether it's with a breast, a bottle or both—and we're not getting it yet.

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